The Duke of Sussex today gave an impassioned speech in which he warned there ‘cannot be any more excuses’ when it comes to protecting the planet.
Speaking at the Australian Geographic Society gala awards in Sydney tonight, Prince Harry warned: ‘We cannot stand by and let our wildlife disappear from the earth.’
The 34-year-old royal attended the event as he accepted an award for outstanding contribution to global conservation on behalf of his grandmother, the Queen.
Harry, who was there with his wife Meghan during their 16-day tour of Australasia, said: ‘We cannot continue to pollute the oceans with plastics and other wastes.
‘We cannot continue to breathe polluted air while cutting down our forests or without reducing emissions.
‘We cannot stand by and let our wildlife disappear from the earth and our fish from the seas. I think we can agree tonight that there cannot be any more excuses.
‘Thanks to the tireless efforts of everyone in this room and the environmentalists and conservationists of the past, we are ready to translate our awareness into action.
‘It is going to take every single one of us to stop the clock on the destruction of our planet, and time is not on our side.
‘The standard we walk past is the standard we accept. It’s time to take personal responsibility and realise what a privilege it is for us to live alongside nature.
‘Thank you for your dedication to our environment, our planet, our future, our Mother Nature.’
Harry also quoted from speeches made by his father, the Prince of Wales, dating back to 1970, saying: ‘Nearly 50 years later, those sentiments resonate just as much today, if not more, than ever before.’
He continued: ‘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.
‘And 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.’
Harry warned: ‘We must appreciate our planet and what it has to offer. The world we live in cannot be replicated or tamed – it is a wild place where beauty takes time to form, in most cases, thousands of years, and without it, we are nothing.
‘Year after year, we hear increasing reports of human-wildlife conflict, how little time we have before it’s too late to counter the impact of climate change, and how we can no longer sacrifice sustainability in development. The idea that these are the next generation’s problems is not a view we can accept.’
Harry and Meghan’s appearance came after the charter plane carrying them back to Australia aborted its initial landing as it approached Sydney.
The Qantas jet was on approach to the airport’s runway having brought the couple back from Tonga when it began climbing.
According to Flightradar24, the jet had descended to an altitude of 125 feet when it climbed and performed a go-around.
A message from the flight deck said: ‘There was an aircraft on the runway a little slow to roll… so the decision was taken to abort the landing.’
The couple have returned to Australia for the latest leg of their 16-day tour and will watch Invictus Games action tomorrow before heading to New Zealand.