Prince Harry, speaking at the Australian Geographic Awards in Sydney, paid tribute to his father, Prince Charles, in a heartfelt speech in which he credited his father with fighting to save the environment, even in times when those pleas “fell on deaf ears.” The Duke of Sussex began his speech by sharing the prescient quotes of a “well-known conservationist” from the 1970s, only later revealing that they were the words of Prince Charles, according to the Telegraph.
“My father and others have been speaking about the environment for decades — not basing it on fallacy or new-age hypothesis, but rooted in science and facts, and the sobering awareness of our environmental vulnerability,” Prince Harry said during his address.
Urging the audience to “stop the clock on the destruction of our planet,” Prince Harry’s comments during the ceremony suggest that he is ready to take up the mantle and continue the work begun by his father so long ago.
Prince Harry, who is expecting his first child early next year, acknowledged that he is the bridge in an environmental legacy begun by the previous generation that will likely continue into the next. Speaking of his father’s work, he said the following.
“While those speeches would sometimes fall on deaf ears, he and others were unrelenting in their commitment to preserve the most valuable resource we have — our planet. But let that be a cautionary tale. We are all here tonight because we care deeply about using the world’s resources wisely and safeguarding them for future generations. I am certain we are more aware of this need for balance now than ever before. The idea that these are the next generation’s problems is not a view we can accept.”
After presenting awards to scientists, innovators, and researchers who have made significant contributions to the environmental cause, the duke concluded by raising hope for a better future, praising a generation of youth who he believes have the environmental foresight that previous generations lacked, and calling the people of the world to action.
Chrissie Goldrick, Editor-In-Chief of Australian Geographic, was effusive in her praise for the royal family’s environmental initiatives.
“This runs in the family,” Goldrick said. “Not only have we got Prince Harry out here, but we also have Prince Charles, and now we have The Queen, who is behind the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project in a major way. You have got the three generations of that family stepping up for the environment. So when you get people like that who are not politicians or statespeople or scientists out there giving that message then people step up and take notice.”
At the same event, the queen was honored with a special conservation award for the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, an initiative to help conserve the world’s forests. Prince Harry accepted the award on her behalf.