The Prince of Wales will call on consumers to make “ocean and land-friendly choices” when shopping to help safeguard the world’s oceans.
In a major speech to the Our Ocean conference, Prince Charles will warn 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 hopes the summit will lead to a “global alliance” between the private, public and NGO sectors, and set out a series of solutions, from tackling plastic pollution to nations beginning to “increase, enforce and finance marine protection”.
The transition to sustainable energies also needs to be “fast-tracked and scaled-up” to combat the growing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans where it leads to acidification which threatens coral reefs.
In a pre-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.”
The prince will set out the scale of the issue.
“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,” he will say.
“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’s speech follows his address at last year’s COP26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow, 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 make the case for investing in ocean habitats, and tell the conference that “recent reports have demonstrated that for every dollar invested in marine protected areas, there is a return of 10 dollars. The economic case is clear”.
The conference is being hosted by the US and Palau, an archipelago of more than 500 Pacific Ocean islands.
Commenting on the issue of 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 will conclude with the words: “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.”
(Australian Associated Press)