The Prince of Wales today called for us all to treat our planet like a sick patient.
In a keynote speech, he also urged health practitioners to be bolder about highlighting the links between the effects of climate change on clean air, water and our wellbeing.
Prince Charles –who for decades has used his unique position to champion action for a sustainable future–told the Royal Society in London, “Protect the health of the planet, protect our health. Actions which are good for the planet are also good for human health.
“Taking a more active approach to transport by walking and cycling and adopting healthy diets reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also reduce rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer and more –saving lives and money.
‘Reductions in air pollution also result, with separate and additional benefits to human health. A healthy planet and healthy people are two sides of the same coin.”
The future King’s strong intervention, at a joint event involving his International Sustainability Unit and the World Health Organisation, came after he and the Duchess of Cornwall made a historic visit to the London Evening Standard newsroom today.
The royal couple were met by owner Evgeny Lebedev and editor Sarah Sands, who escorted them on a tour of our Kensington headquarters –the first time a future King and Queen Consort have made an official visit to the Standard since it was founded in 1827.
Mr Lebedev said, “We are all very privileged that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited our newsroom today.
“It is a reminder of how engaged he is with the country he serves and of how the London Evening Standard is central to the lives of everyone in the capital, including our future monarch.”
Editor Sarah Sands said, “It is an honour to welcome their Royal Highnesses to the Evening Standard.
“The fact that they have taken time to visit us demonstrates their keen interest in what is happening in London today.,”
Clarence House said, ”During the usual course of their engagements, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall wanted to visit their local newspaper as it went to press.”
During the visit Charles praised our Homeless Veterans fundraising campaign. He recalled there was a rise in the numbers of veterans needing help after the Falklands war and voiced concern that the same may happen after the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts as more service personnel require treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Today’s Royal Society event brought together health ministers, senior civil servants, health professionals and civil society organisations to discuss climate change, health and forthcoming negotiations involving the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21.
The Prince said in his speech, “Those negotiations taking place in December provide perhaps our last opportunity to set targets that will keep the world to below two degrees of warming.”
He highlighted his delight that a meeting hosted by his International Sustainability Unit in December 2013, to help forge a consensus on the critical importance of the health sector talking with a coherent voice on this issue, has encouraged others to speak up.
“Five years ago The Lancets commission on climate change described it as the greatest threat to human health of the 21st century,” he said. ”This warning has been echoed worldwide.”
The visit to our Kensington headquarters this morning will be listed as an official engagement.
It will be reported in the Court Circular, the authoritative, historical record of official engagements of members of the Royal Family. Climate change is also expected to be one of the main themes of Prince Charles’s visit to the US next month, when he and the Duchess will meet President Obama at the White House.
While in America, the heir to the throne will also be honoured by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation with an award for exceptional leadership in conservation.