Prince William: It would be a ‘disaster’ if George is repeating climate change conversation in 30 years

·4 min read

Watch: Prince William: Great minds should save earth not travel space

Prince William has opened up on his Earthshot Prize, which will award global innovations to combat climate change - and has revealed he hopes his six-year-old son George won't be having the same conversation in 30 years. 

Speaking on the BBC's Newscast, he said: "For me it'd be a disaster if George is sat here talking to you still saying the same thing in 30 years - because by then it'll be too late."

The royal stressed he believes "young people are going to dominate this (issue)".

"Children love being outside, playing, getting muddy - adults may not remember their inner child," he added, suggesting that children have a stronger bond to the great outdoors.

Prince William, pictured with wife Kate and son George at a UEFA EURO 2020 match in London on 29 June 2021, has spoken about his son's understanding of climate change. (Getty Images)
Prince William, pictured with wife Kate and son George at a UEFA EURO 2020 match in London on 29 June 2021, has spoken about his son's understanding of climate change. (Getty Images)

He said: "George has been doing litter picking at school, and was confused and annoyed." William explained that his son's class at Thomas's Battersea "went out litter picking and the next day they did the same route.

"He couldn't understand how it was all back again the next day, and where it was coming from!"

Sympathising with his son, William went on, "these are the questions we need to be asking ourselves, why is that OK for that litter to come back 24 hours later?"

He explained that in George, he and Kate are already seeing "a definite sense of realisation and understanding," about the environment - "like not overusing water, turning off light switches- things like that were instilled in me when I was young," he said.

The Queen is known to be thrifty in her personal life, and clearly, the genes have been passed down.

"Charlotte's still a little bit young," William added, "and she's not quite sure and actually Louis just enjoys playing outside the whole time, he lives outside.

"It is slowly dawning on them that these things matter - but when you're young you just want to have fun and I don't want to give them the burden of that worry," added the hands-on dad.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George attend a special pantomime performance at London's Palladium Theatre, hosted by The National Lottery, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic.
The Cambridges with their children. (Reuters)

William also spoke about his father, Prince Charles, acknowledging that the Prince of Wales had often been mocked in the past for his interest in the environment and climate change.

"It's been a hard road for him," admitted the Duke. "My grandfather started out helping the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) with nature and biodiversity but my dad started to progress it with climate change.

"He's had a very rough ride and he's been proven to be well ahead of his time."

Of the Earthshot Prize, he added, "It's about inspiring and finding solutions that can be around us right now and in the future rather than concentrating on what we have to give up and can't do.

File photo dated 29/06/21 of the Duke of Cambridge who has said the
The Duke of Cambridge said the "amazing" entries in his Earthshot Prize competition should fill the world with "optimism and hope" as he announced the finalists. (PA)

"Even if we all did a little now, it's not going to be enough," he went on.

"We need those heroes who can step up and come up with solutions - it's about thinking outside the box in a way that makes us richer, healthier and happier."

Like his brother Prince Harry, William has spoken regularly in praise of the vaccine scientists, and said,

"Where we've come with the development of these vaccines, it's an enormous thing, I've been blown away by the research the science, how quickly it's been done.

"Younger generations can now say, 'if we can fix this, we can also tackle environmental challenges'

"The idea that we can't do it is waning away."

The Cambridge's children are growing up in a world where climate is "much more talked about" William said. 

"We are seeing a rise in climate anxiety, young people are growing up in a world where they're worried about the future the whole time and feeling that about the climate that we live breathe and walk around in, is very anxiety-making.

The Prince added:

"I want the things that I've enjoyed - the outdoor life, nature, the environment - I want that to be there for my children, and not just my children but everyone else's children."

Watch: Prince Charles talks climate change

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