The Prince of Wales gave a stark warning today about the state of our coral reefs, as he was joined by Prince Harry at a conference organised by The Prince’s Sustainability Unit.
“Not only will our children be faced with the monochrome legacy of the graveyard of destroyed reefs and the collapse of marine biodiversity, but the majority of us alive today will stand witness to the process,” said Prince Charles, speaking at a one-day conference, which took place at Fishmongers’ Hall, London.
Prince Charles was joined by his son, Prince Harry, at the event, which discussed ways of protecting coral reefs – so important to the eco-system of the oceans – at the start of the International Year of the Reef. This campaign aims at garnering more support from governments and organisations to protect the reefs and improve coral reef health; it has the support of the UN Environment Programme.
Kensington Palace said Prince Harry had a continued interest in the issue and had been invited by his father to attend the conference. The visit comes a day after he visited Edinburgh with Meghan.
At the event, Charles spoke of how coastal developments, fishing using explosives, land-based pollution, and of course, climate change, have all hit the ocean hard. He called the loss of these “rich natural” systems “deeply irresponsible,” noting it was a “price of progress” rather than an “arbiter of our vulnerability.”
The heir-to-the-throne has recently campaigned against single-use plastics, which often end up in the sea, and in the last few days it was announced that The Queen has banned them from all the royal palaces.
“The combination of these impacts has already caused the unimaginable loss of 50% of the world’s tropical coral reefs over the last three decades,” The Prince of Wales told the meeting of coral experts, scientists and politicians. “More recently, we have seen the most widespread and severe bleaching event on record sweep across the world’s coral reefs, leaving behind terrible scenes of destruction.
“Well, the speed of the ecological marine cataclysm that we have engendered is such that not only will our children be faced with the monochrome legacy of the graveyard of destroyed reefs and the collapse of marine biodiversity, but the majority of us alive today will stand witness to the process.
“Now it is, of course, absolutely critical that the scale of the collaboration equals the size of the challenge,” Charles explained.
“The ocean has an astonishing ability to heal itself, if given the chance. We simply have to give it that chance, perhaps its last, for we must not only conserve what remains of these unique and vitally important ecosystems, but we must also allow nature to restore what has already been lost.”
“There can be no doubt that we are at a critical tipping point, where we will either ensure or fatally compromise our ability to safeguard the world’s coral reefs and the species that will support future generations of humans and countless other species,” the Prince ended his speech.
Prince Harry is also a keen conservationist like his father; this is also an area in which the Royal Foundation works. On his trip to the Caribbean in 2016, the newly-engaged Royal met those trying to restock a local coral habitat in Granada.