otherwise why would it be making plans to move itsentire population off the islands because of the threatof the rising sea level?And what about the really alarming messages thatscientists and explorers like Pen Hadow bring backfrom the Polar regions? The trouble is that they are notjust about short-term changes - though they canprovide a valuable wake-up call - they are about thelong-term trends that cannot be dismissed as a "blip"or explained away as "natural cycles". It is these long-term changes to our world that we ignore at our peril.And it is, let us face it, the only world we have. Wecannot just throw this one away, as we do so muchelse, and somehow expect to zoom off to anotherintergalactically convenient one. The stakes could notbe higher.Scientific concerns about the potential consequencesof increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere go backmore than fifty years. But to those who seek topersuade us that there is no such thing as climatechange, in the face of the now overwhelming peer-reviewed scientific evidence, I would ask just onequestion. Are you prepared to take the risk of beingwrong? Let me explain. If the scientific predictions areproved correct, it will be the poorest people on thisplanet who will suffer first and worst. In fact, they arealready suffering in those other parts of the world that,for us, are out of sight and out of mind.Just think about what will happen if and when theglaciers of the Himalayas and the Andes dwindle away- and it is irrefutable that they are dwindling. Theagricultural systems of entire continents will bedramatically affected. Climate change will also bringmore extreme weather events to many parts of theworld, causing ever more frequent havoc for those leastable to cope. I do not know about you, but I happen tomind very much about the sort of world in which mychildren and grandchildren - and yours - will be living.For all of them, I believe we have a great responsibilityto do the right thing by them and so I, for one, am notprepared to play some sort of Russian roulette withtheir futures.That is why I remain determined to do all I can toencourage people to think about how we can bestchange the way in which we live to stabilise our climateand secure those ecosystems and the associatedrichness of their biodiversity - such as the Rainforestsand the world's oceans - on which human lifedepends. To do this, I think we need to overcome thefear that environmental measures will be expensiveand will somehow return us to the Dark Ages,destroying all the improvements that were first given tous by the Industrial Revolution.Yet this reaction is hardly surprising, if the only way weexplain sustainability is to tell people that their energybills will rise, and their cost of food will spiral togetherAbove: The Prince ofWales is turning to theInternet to get thesustainability messageacrossINNOVATION 070TECHNOLOGYwith the price of petrol. A cursory look at most of theweb sites that talk about climate change will revealthat it is full of this negative language: "stop", "cut","reduce", "do not". That is only one way of looking atit. Far too few talk about the potential for a sustainablefuture to be better and more rewarding - both for usand for Nature - than the lives we lead now. Thispotential needs to be communicated across thecountry and, indeed, across the world. Just how muchare we persuading people that a "sustainabilityrevolution" is a good thing?
INNOVATION TECHNOLOGY071As we stand on the threshold of a sustainabilityrevolution, it is that starting point that we need to findonce again so that we can show people the potentialwhich the future holds; to excite them about theopportunities a sustainability revolution offers. I amnot for one minute suggesting that we can recreate theGreat Exhibition, but I am very pleased to announcethat, this year, with the help of some generous andforward-thinking partners, I am launching a newinitiative which will demonstrate to people that"starting point" towards a sustainable future.Called simply "Start", this initiative will echo the ideabehind the Great Exhibition by showing people thetechnologies, techniques and principles that exist now,which will not only improve our lives, but also help theplanet sustain us, all by operating more in harmonywith Nature's processes and cycles than against them.It will neither lecture nor hector; but instead willdemonstrate and explain in ways that everyone canunderstand using everyday language. Just as the Great Exhibition used the tools of industrialrevolution (such as the Railways and iron buildings),"Start" will use the tools of the modern age - theInternet and television - to demonstrate to people howit is possible to adopt more sustainable behaviour and,put simply, to do their "bit". The hope is that I can tourparts of the UK by train - using a diesel locomotivepowered by sustainable fuel - in order to celebrateexamples of how villages, towns and cities are already"starting" to operate more sustainably.I am pleased to say that the project already has thesupport of many good friends from the world ofentertainment and sport - too many to name here. Withthe support of the advertising agency, Fallon, they willhelp us communicate the message in the mostaccessible way possible, making it fun as well asinformative for everybody. The initiative is also beingbacked by some of the biggest names on the HighStreet - many of whom are represented here today -including B&Q, ASDA, M&S, BT, Virgin Money, IBM,Addison Lee and EDF Energy, and to them all I want toexpress my heartfelt thanks. My hope is that "ProjectStart" will change the tone and the language ofsustainability. Instead of "stopping", we will Start! nThese remarks by HRH The Prince of Wales areexcerpted from his speech at the launch of "Start" -an initiative of The Prince's Charities Foundation - on4th February 2010 in Manchester. "Start" is aPublic/Private/NGO partnership which has beencreated in response to research which shows thatwhen it comes to dealing with issues like climatechange and sustainability, people are confused andare looking for information and advice. It is all aboutexploring what is possible: from the cheapest andsimplest to the most complex and futuristic; fromquick fixes to long-term solutions. For moreinformation visit: www.startuk.orgIn 1849, at the very zenith of the IndustrialRevolution, my great great great Grandfather, PrinceAlbert, held a meeting at the Royal Society of Arts tocall for a Great Exhibition, which would demonstrate topeople all the wonders of the modern world. He sawthat by showing people the future in an exciting way,they would not be afraid of it and instead would see theadvantages it could bring. He said the Great Exhibitionwould, if nothing else, be, and I quote: "a new startingpoint from which all nations would be able to directtheir further exertions".