Prince William issues call to action on climate change

Duke of Cambridge says we 'owe it to our children and future generations to act now'

Britain's Prince William at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London on Monday. EPA
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Britain's Prince William has called on people across the world to address climate change, protect the environment and conservation, and support communities already suffering.

In a moving speech at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London, the Duke of Cambridge said we “owe it to our children and future generations to act now”, and paid tribute to those risking their lives to protect endangered species in Africa.

“Africa remains on the frontline of conservation, playing host to the most awe-inspiring diversity of fauna and flora," William said.

“The forests and savannahs of this vast continent are a precious form of natural capital. This not only underpins economies and supports biodiversity, but plays a critical function in our battle against climate change.”

He said that after Cop26 in Glasgow last month, “it is clear that we must see the environment, conservation and climate change through the same prism and not in isolation".

“Africa’s extraordinarily rich biodiversity has the ability to sequester vast amounts of carbon, but this is only possible if these landscapes remain truly intact and are protected as functioning eco-systems.

“Our wildlife plays a vital role in keeping nature in balance and maintaining this precious cycle of life.

"If we keep destroying or removing the threads that make up the natural tapestry of life on Earth, it will simply begin to break down, exacerbating climate change still further.”

William, a royal patron of the Tusk Trust since 2005, spoke of the devastating effects of Covid-19 on conservation projects in Africa, where tourism revenue that pays for the work has collapsed.

“Africa has been hard hit, as economies, jobs and livelihoods have been devastated by lockdowns and travel restrictions," he said.

“Many of the Tusk projects I have been lucky enough to visit have been hugely impacted, particularly where there is a dependence on tourism to underpin their conservation work.”

Winners included Simson Uri-Khob, chief executive of Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia, who won the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa for his work of more than 30 years to save his country’s black rhino population.

Suleiman Saidy, senior game ranger at Yankari Game Reserve in Nigeria, won the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award for his bravery and efforts in cutting rife elephant poaching to only one case since 2015.

Updated: November 23, 2021, 1:12 AM