Prince Charles Makes Pledge to His Grandchildren amid Coronavirus Pandemic: 'Think Big and Act Now'

Stephanie Petit

Prince Charles is encouraging the world to "think big and act now" when it comes to our planet.

The royal spoke at a round table event hosted by HRH’s Sustainable Markets Initiative and The World Economic Forum about the balance between nature and humanity, noting it's important to think about how our actions will impact future generations.

"Everything I have tried to do, and urge, over the past 50 years has been done with our children and grandchildren in mind," said Charles, who has been actively involved in environmental issues for over 50 years, since he first made his speech regarding the topic back in 1968. "So, I can only encourage us all to think big and act now."

Queen Elizabeth's son and heir went on to say, "I can only hope that as this current crisis passes we are able to reflect on, and shape, the type of world we want for ourselves and for future generations."

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Prince Charles has four grandchildren: Prince William and Kate Middleton's three kids — Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2 — and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 1-year-old son Archie.

Charles has shared glimpses of his tight bond with the little royals, including an adorable photo of Louis giving his grandfather a huge hug released for the prince's second birthday last month. He also keeps photos of his family around his office, such as a photo of a young George in a white bucket hat.

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Prince Charles spoke about how coronavirus demonstrates the complicated relationship between nature and humanity.

"The threats posed by this dreadful pandemic came upon us suddenly and with very little warning.  The threat of climate change has been more gradual, but it is a devastating reality for many people and their livelihoods around the world and its ever-greater potential to disrupt surpasses even that of COVID-19," he said.

"In addition to COVID-19, over the last few decades, we have seen bird flu, swine flu, Ebola, MERS, SARS which are all zoonotic diseases originating in animals.  More than half of all pathogens affecting humans come from animals," Charles continued. "Changing the relationship between wild, domestic and human animals makes pandemics more likely which is why we need to restore balance with the natural world through decisive action on climate change and restoring biodiversity."

Prince Charles encouraged listeners to understand the environment and "help stimulate a more circular bioeconomy that gives back to Nature as much as we take from her."

Charles, an avid gardener himself, previously highlighted the important role U.K. farmers are playing during the COVID-19 pandemic in an article for Country Life magazine.

"When was the last time anyone gave the availability of a bottle of milk, or a loaf of bread, or fresh vegetables a second thought?” he said. “Suddenly, these things are precious and valued. And this is how it always should be."

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"Food does not happen by magic,” the royal continued. “If the past few weeks have proved anything, it is that we cannot take it for granted. In this country, there are 80,000 farmers producing our food — from the Fells of Cumbria to the arable and vegetable lands of East Anglia; from the Welsh Mountains to the Scottish fishing villages; from the dairy fields of Cornwall and Northern Ireland to the orchards of Kent. Day in and day out, they are working to produce food — for us. And we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. But they cannot do it alone."

Marianne Majerus Garden Images/Highgrove Enterprises Prince Charles

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Prince Charles encouraged readers to realize the importance of nature and local agriculture.

“After the suffering and the selflessness we are witnessing, we cannot allow ourselves to go back to how we were,” he said. “This is a moment in history.”