UK's Prince Charles to promote ocean-friendly shopping in environmental summit speech

Prince of Wales will say human activity has contributed to the rapid decline in ocean health

Charles, the Prince of Wales. PA
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The Prince of Wales will urge consumers to make “ocean and land-friendly choices” when shopping and to buy “certified” products to help protect the world’s oceans.

In a speech to the Our Ocean conference, to be held in the Pacific archipelago country of Palau this week, Charles will say the decline in the health of waters across the globe is “dire” and the “consequences of inaction and business as usual are unimaginable”.

The heir to the British throne will say that he hopes the summit will lead to a “global alliance” between the private, public and charity sectors.

He will set out a series of solutions, from tackling plastic pollution on a “massive scale” to countries starting to “increase, enforce and finance marine protection”.

The transition to sustainable energy must be “fast-tracked and scaled up” to combat the growing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans, where it leads to acidification that threatens coral reefs.

In a recorded video speech that will be screened during the summit’s opening day on Wednesday, Charles will tell delegates: “By rewarding sustainable fishing practices and penalising those that are not, we can incentivise better ocean management.

“As consumers, we should make ocean and land-friendly choices when we make our purchases. Selecting certified products is a good place to start and this can increasingly be done through digital ID.

“Despite the essential role the ocean plays in maintaining harmony between nature, people and planet, human activity over the past several centuries has contributed to the rapid decline in ocean health, be it from global warming, unsustainable, unreported, unregulated and illegal fishing practices or pollution.

“No one knows this better than the world’s large ocean states, who are seeing the impact at first-hand. This situation is indeed dire. The consequences of inaction and ‘business as usual’ are unimaginable.”

The prince also spot at the Cop26 UN climate change summit staged in Glasgow last November, when he said the world has had enough of talking and “we need to put our words and commitments into practice”.

Other speakers during the two-day summit will include former US president Barack Obama and the US special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry.

Charles will tell delegates the economic system “is at odds and not in harmony with nature’s own economy”, but could be key to the solution if “re-targeted”.

He will make the case for investing in ocean habitats, and tell the conference recent reports have shown that for every $1 invested in marine protected areas, there is a return of $10.

"The economic case is clear.”

The conference is being hosted by the US and Palau.

On pollution, Charles will say: "We have seen unequivocal evidence that plastics are not only polluting our waters but are entering our food chains and our bodies. We are quite literally poisoning ourselves.

“It seems obvious that we should be looking for natural alternatives to plastic and transitioning rapidly to these alternatives.

"In the meantime, we need to support the world’s innovators to scale up the removal of plastics from our ocean, waterways and landfills while strengthening recycling efforts and the more rapid development of the circular economy.”

The prince, who gave a speech in Malta during the 2017 Our Ocean summit, will conclude with the words: “Ladies and gentlemen, the ocean’s centrality on this planet as the largest reservoir of biodiversity and life demands our concerted attention and transformative action.

“I pray, therefore, that in response to the immense crisis we face, this summit can lead to a genuine global alliance between the private, public and NGO sectors.”

Updated: April 12, 2022, 11:52 PM
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