Prince Harry & Prince William Focus on Climate Crisis: “It’s a Race Against Time”


Though they’ve long outgrown joint royal duties, Princes Harry and William still share a joint passion for conservation and the planet. Today, the pair took on the issue from different sides of the planet, focusing on engagements that highlighted climate change and conservation.

On the second leg of his 10-day tour of southern Africa with Duchess Meghan, the Duke of Sussex arrived solo in Kasane, Botswana to share some impassioned words about the environment.

“I genuinely don’t understand how anyone in this world, whoever we are—you, us, children, leaders, whoever it is—no one can deny science, otherwise we live in a very, very troubling world,” Harry said during today’s visit to Chobe National Park.

Prince Harry attends a tree-planting event at Chobe National Park in Kasane, Botswana on September 26. POOL/SAMIR HUSSEIN GETTY IMAGES

Harry also showed his support for 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has faced a week of censure after giving a pointed speech at the U.N. criticizing world leaders for their inaction on protecting the environment. “This last week, led by Greta [Thunberg], the world’s children are striking,” he said. “It’s a race against time and one which we are losing—everyone knows it, there’s no excuse for not knowing that.”

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He continued, “I think the most troubling part of it is that I don’t believe there is anybody in this world that can deny science, undeniable science and facts. Science and facts that have been around for the last 30, maybe 40 years, and it’s only getting stronger and stronger.”

It’s not the first time the Sussexes have shown their support for Thunberg’s activism, which saw her galvanize the youth-led protests around the world last week. The Duchess of Sussex featured the teenager on the cover of her guest-edited issue of British Vogue in September, and the duke and duchess backed her work using their Instagram account a month earlier. understands Harry spent his flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg reading relevant materials, including U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ September 23 address to the the UN General Assembly. Harry was referring to the following quote from the UN chief in his words today: “The climate change emergency is a race that we are losing. The world has seen unprecedented temperatures, unrelenting storms, and undeniable science.”

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The prince spoke out before planting trees with children from local schools—mahogany saplings for the 200 children and a 32-foot endangered baobab for him—to restore a riverbank forest. The Chobe National Park is home to one of the world’s largest population of elephants (over 17,000!) and has a vibrant ecosystem that relies on the Chobe River. But due to climate-related issues, many of its indigenous trees are facing extinction.

Prince Harry helps plant trees at Chobe Tree Reserve in Kasane. POOL GETTY IMAGES

On a personal note, Harry also spoke of how Botswana became his escape in the months following the death of his mother. Princess Diana, in 1997. “Fifteen years I’ve been coming here, it’s a sense of escapism, a real sense of purpose … I have some of my closest friends here over the years,” he said. “I feel deeply connected to this place and to Africa.”

Almost 8,000 miles away, in Maidenhead, England, climate change was also front of mind for the Duke of Cambridge. He was there to help launch a polar research ship that will spend the next 25 to 30 years studying changes in the oceans, marine life, and climate systems in Antarctica and the Arctic.

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Joined by the Duchess of Cambridge, William spent two hours touring the state-of-the-art RSS David Attenborough and learned about its mission to expand global knowledge of the polar oceans and reveal more about the devastating impact of climate change in the region.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chat with Sir David Attenborough while attending the naming ceremony for the the RRS Sir David Attenborough in Birkenhead, England. PETER BYRNE GETTY IMAGES

In a speech that echoed some of his brother’s sentiments, William said, “As last week’s climate protests the world over, and yesterday’s report on our oceans and frozen regions demonstrated, there has never been a more important moment for this ship to get to work.

“There is no person more fitting for this beacon of scientific research to be named after than you, David,” he told the ship’s namesake, the famed British historian and presenter. “You have shown us how awe-inspiring the natural world is, and also how fragile and endangered it is. And you have inspired us all to do as much as we possibly can to protect it.”

Attenborough added, “The world at the moment is facing great, great problems. And the most aware of that are the young people of today who will inherit this world. Great problems require great research and facts in order to solve them. That’s what this astonishing ship will be here to do: To find out the facts.”


From: Harper’s BAZAAR US