In an exclusive article for the Daily Mail, The Prince of Wales has revealed his devastation over the wildfires tearing through parts of Greece and Turkey.
This summer, thousands of people in the Mediterranean have been battling fires or fleeing their homes due to a blaze. Greece, in particular, saw a particularly bad spell, when the flames came close to Athens and people were evacuated by boat and precious artefacts hastily removed from museums.
Prince Charles opens his online piece by highlighting his personal connection to Greece. He notes how he has always felt a ‘particular fascination and affection’ for the country.
Talking about the horrors the country is experiencing, The Prince of Wales says: “Now, five months later, it has been heartbreaking to see the devastating fires affecting Greece, Turkey, and now Italy which has just recorded Europe’s highest ever temperature.”
The Prince of Wales speaks about the ties between the UK and Greece during tonight’s Bicentenary Dinner. #RoyalVisitGreece
— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) March 24, 2021
Describing the fires as ‘the stuff of nightmares’, he comments how they have turned blue skies a bright orange with farmland being ‘swallowed up by ferocious flames’.
“I have heard reports recently from British firefighters who rushed there to help who say they have never seen such fires. I can only imagine that their colleagues battling to bring the fires under control in California and from the west coast to the prairies in Canada would say the same.
“I have lost count of the number of weather-related disasters that have hit so many countries across the Commonwealth and beyond. I have depressing memories of seeing at first-hand the devastation in the Caribbean in 2017 after it was struck by two Category Five hurricanes in the same week.”
Earlier this year, the Prince visited Greece with wife, Camilla, to celebrate the bicentenary of the country’s independence.
Charles discusses how natural disasters have plagued the planet before, including ‘Haiti battered by Tropical Storm Grace’ and ‘the fires, floods and the increasingly severe droughts that have affected Australia’. He emphasises ‘our planet is in crisis and, no matter where you are, no country is immune.’
As an advocate for protecting the climate and saving vulnerable species, the future King says he ‘tried to warn of the immense risks we were running – particularly for future generations, and for the natural world on which we depend – by not taking seriously what the scientists were saying.’
He wrote how unless ‘immediate and urgent action is taken’, scientists have predicted an 89% of extreme events happening every year and described the future predictions as ‘unequivocal’.
The Royal uses the article to highlight the upcoming international climate change conference, COP26, and how it should act as a ‘wake-up call that climate change is happening now,’ commenting if ‘we do not confront the monumental challenge head on – and fast – we and the world as we know it will be done for’.
“I have long felt the challenge is far too big and far too important for any one country to address it alone. British firefighters are doing what they can to help in Greece, but we all need to race to the front line now to combat climate change as a whole. As the UN Panel stressed, there is still time to do this, but only just.
“This is why I have long believed that the private sector, with its trillions of dollars, has an absolutely critical role to play in an effective and practical partnership with governments, NGOs, charities and individuals. Unlocking the enormous investment potential in the private sector could accelerate the world towards a game-changing green transition – which is why, over the past 18 months, I have spent a great deal of time trying to bring the world’s leading businesses together, sector by sector, to that end.”
Earlier this year, Prince Charles launched the Terra Carta – an immediate ten-point action plan for businesses, showing them the route to a more sustainable future, which has received the support of more than 400 leading businesses. He highlights how ‘they can only hope to win this epic battle if their counterparts in governments work with them to create the right conditions for an accelerated green transition’.
The Prince says this is why ‘COP26 is so crucially important for our very survival on this increasingly over-heating planet – something our children and grandchildren are rightly and deeply concerned about. The ‘coalition of the willing’ joins me in hoping that the conference will deliver the transformational decisions and the roadmap for change for which our planet is crying out.’
He concludes his exclusive piece by saying ’we now have no alternative – we have to do all we possibly can in the short time left to us to avoid the enormous climate catastrophe that has already begun to show its face in the most terrifying ways, most recently in the Mediterranean.’ According to Charles, the ‘COP26 affords them an opportunity to do so before it is finally too late.’