Climate change activist Greta Thunberg has a new superfan in Prince Charles. While everyone from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to President Donald Trump were in attendance at the 50th annual World Economic Forum, Prince Charles seemed the most excited to meet the 16-year-old who, just yesterday, schooled them all.
The two met for the first time this week at the WEF in Davos, Klosters, Switzerland where they both addressed world and industry leaders to advocate for drastic changes to the current climate crisis. Meeting with Thunberg to discuss a crisis that has literally set an entire continent ablaze is perhaps a refreshing change from all of the big shifts within the royal family.
In Thunberg's speech yesterday, she admonished world leaders in her speech for doing “basically nothing” to address climate change in the face of looming catastrophe. Prince Charles, a lifelong environmentalist, was impressed with Thunberg’s sense of urgency and dedication. “She’s remarkable, she represents one of the main reasons why I’ve been trying to make all this effort all these years,” Prince Charles told CNN. “I’ve always worried about the fact that so often, in terms of humanity, we leave things too late so you have to hit a brick wall and experience catastrophe before anything happens.”
Over the last 40 years, Prince Charles has used his title to champion sustainability launching several initiatives aimed at practical and actionable outcomes. In 1968, he gave his first speech about the environment in 1968 and his fervor, like the world’s dependence on carbon-emitting fuels, has not wavered.
In his speech at this year’s summit, Prince Charles outlined a 10-step plan speaking directly to the private sector and its role in mitigating the effects of climate change. The United Kingdom’s heir apparent advocated for reversing subsidies that support the fossil fuel industry, investing in technological innovation, insisting on greater transparency with consumers about supply chains and where their products come from, as well as creating new sustainable products and services.
"Do we want to go down in history as the people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink in time to restore the balance when we could have done? I don't want to," he told the audience at the WEF's 50th annual meeting.
Specifically, Prince Charles addressed the world’s most wealthy. “What good is all the extra wealth in the world gained from business as usual if you can do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions?” he said in his speech adding, “The only limit is our willingness to act and the time to act is now.”
Could 2020 have a new dynamic duo in Prince Charles and Greta Thurnberg? They both believe in radical changes to put the environment first. Perhaps this is the start of a beautiful partnership where world leaders invite the insights of the next generation to work together on a world they both want to live in.