December 15th, 2009
11:12 AM ET

It's Raining Ideas

Prince Charles
The Times of India

This week the world has an opportunity to herald perhaps the most exciting era of international cooperation in human history. As leaders gather in Denmark at the Copenhagen climate change summit, an accord on a way forward on this most critical issue could lay the foundations for a period of incredibly dynamic development and economic opportunity. But we will need to adopt 21st century ways of thinking and doing if we are to rise to the challenge before us and to make the most of the opportunities it presents.

While climate change has recently emerged as a clear priority for policy-makers in many countries, in many others the focus has quite understandably been elsewhere especially on development and the alleviation of poverty. While the focus on ending poverty must remain and be sharpened, it seems to me that we must guard against falling into the trap of seeing the protection of the environment and development of the economy as alternatives. I believe they are, in fact, two sides of the same coin.

No longer can any country or city pursue its interests in isolation. Today, the emphasis is very much on interconnection, interdependence and cooperation. While history reveals that humans sometimes struggle to succeed in these respects, we must not be deterred from seeking a better future. One challenge that has been on my mind a lot for the last couple of years, and which is relevant to many developing countries, is the question of how to save what remains of the world's tropical rainforests.


Filed under: Environmental issues
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Dear Prince Charles:
    We are at opposite ends of the spectrum- You are rich, I am poor.
    You want to see results? – Get the rich That includes All world Leaders,Bankers ect. to buy us poor folk solar pannels & wind generators so we can be self sufficiant . Be willing to give up your jet that produces several times the pollution in one trip than my 1974 Chevy truck does in one year.
    I can live off the land if need be. How about you rich people? can you live or survive without all your luxuries that you take for granted???

    December 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  2. Tim Gibson

    I would agree that we need to redirect our "progress" in the developed nations, however, a system that would put penalties on those who have been a part of progress, be it short sighted or not is not the answer.

    Why should I, as a consumer, of the products offered by our leadership and our industry, pay into a fund to give to undeveloped nations as a way of saying, sorry, we went down the wrong path so here is our bank account routing number.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  3. Isabel Siaba (Brazil)

    I agree with the critics that they say there are not enough agents on the ground and that more land needs to be put under federal protection.

    Due to the difficulty of monitoring and little infrastructure in most of the region, some residents are forced to contribute to the sale of illegal timber because they have no other means of income or because they feel threatened by the loggers. Even some Indians often work in illegal activity logging.

    In addition to affecting the biodiversity (the Amazon has more than 30% of the world's biodiversity), deforestation in the Amazon affects, the lives of local people that without the huge resources of the largest freshwater basin in the world find themselves without power to ensure their survival, becoming dependent on government assistance and non-governmental organizations, which are not sufficient.

    I just don't agree when there is the rhetoric that "The Amazon is ours." No, the Amazon, most of them is of the Brazil. The Amazon and the responsibilities about it don't fit into the world, but to the countries through which it passes.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:41 am |