The Prince of Wales has warned that mankind will face extinction if we do not save the planet by altering our lifestyles.
Speaking at his first appointment as President of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), Prince Charles made his feelings towards over consumption very clear.
The Prince described himself as "an endangered species", (a reference not just to himself as a part of mankind but to the monarchy) and maximised the opportunity to air his views at this "crucial moment" which the human race finds itself in.
Much of what was said is to be expected considering his new position with the World Wildlife Fund but he went beyond even his own normal outspoken standards with regards to the way that business rail-roads itself over environmental and wildlife considerations, Prince Charles said:
"We are, of course, witnessing what some people call the sixth great extinction event – the continued erosion of much of the Earth’s vital biodiversity caused by a whole host of pressures, from the rising demand for land to the corrosive effects of all kinds of pollution,
"This is an important point that needs to be stressed more than it is, because its ultimate impact is plainly not at all clear to most people – without the biodiversity that is so threatened, we won't be able to survive ourselves."
And he really did excel himself in this part of his speech:
"For history will not judge us by how much economic growth we achieve in the immediate years ahead, nor by how much we expand material consumption, but by the legacy we leave for our children, grandchildren and their grandchildren.
"We are consuming what is rightfully theirs by sacrificing long-term progress on the altar of immediate satisfaction and convenience. That is hardly responsible behaviour.
"There is an urgent need for all of us to concentrate our efforts on sustaining, nurturing and protecting the earth's natural capital and, moreover, reshaping our economic systems so that nature sits at the very heart of our thinking. This is the mission of WWF-UK, and it is my mission as well."
We may have heard this rhetoric before and from more learned individuals than the Prince of Wales, but never has it been so pertinent in light of the world's insatiable desire for economic growth via a debt based credit system which is currently gripping our world economically and in turn strangling our wildlife.
Tightening existing, as well as introducing new, environment and Eco laws is not the answer but localised self sufficiency is.
I agree with the Prince on much of what he says but I feel he has stated the obvious whilst presenting no practical solutions and there are two practical solutions (although I suspect Charles would be rather uncomfortable with the first one for obvious reasons) and they are Land Value Tax and developments like the Lammas project (www.lammas.org.uk/) in Pembrokeshire.
Britain needs to lead the way and set an example up by introducing a Land Value Tax to replace all or as many existing taxes as possible and yes it can be implemented whilst maintaining existing public services but we also need to offset that with a true commitment to living closer to nature which is something his royal highness also made mention of in his own unique pseudo-spiritual way.
Land Value Tax properly administered in conjunction with a new approach to living would go a long way towards repairing the damage we are doing to the land we live on.
Speaking to The Economic Voice in relation to LVT and the environment Mark Wadsworth, a Land Value Tax advocate, said:
"Instead of building further out into the countryside, they'd use up derelict and under-used urban and suburban spaces first, because that's where land values and hence LVT are higher.
So commute times would be shorter and people would use public transport more – people who live in the outer suburbs tend to use cars. Urban houses are smaller and so need less energy for heating and lighting.
If there are small green spaces in towns and cities, then these add enormously to local house values, there would be no temptation to develop all the parks and forests and so on.
Land Value Tax also applies to extraction of natural resources, like coal, oil (those being part of 'the land' in a literal sense). So taxes on those would be higher so we'd use less and use them more sparingly.
Large corporate farmers use very little labour (they are very labour efficient) but they use a lot of machinery and pesticides. Compared to earlier times, they produce a lot more per acre, but they produce nowhere near as much per acre as more labour-intensive methods (compare a large farm with your local allotments!!).Â If agricultural land were subject to LVT (instead of being subsidised via CAP subsidies and instead of wages being taxed) then we would have more small organic farms, which are more labour intensive, less capital-intensive and which use less pesticides, but still produce a lot more food per acre."
Good on The Prince of Wales for using his position to highlight the problems we face as a species and making us pause for a moments reflection on what weÂ are doing to the planet but when it comes to answers to our dire predicament we need meat on the bones.