May 4, 2011

Prince Charles Warns Of Global Food System Crisis

Britain's Prince Charles warned Wednesday that unsustainable farming methods are overtaxing nature and pushing the global food system into crisis.

"In some cases, we are pushing Nature's life-support systems so far they are struggling to cope with what we ask of them," the heir to the British throne, who is a long-time advocate for sustainable food production, told about 700 people packed into a meeting hall at Georgetown University in a conference debating the future of food.

"Soils are being depleted, demand for water is growing ever more voracious and the entire system is at the mercy of an increasingly fluctuating price of oil," the prince said in the keynote speech at the "Future of Food" conference.

Charles was the only speaker to be given a standing ovation during the conference.

The world's food producers must urgently "create a more sustainable approach to agriculture... that is capable of feeding the world with a global population rapidly heading for nine billion," the Prince said.

"Can we do so amid so many competing demands on land, in an increasingly volatile climate and when levels of the planet's biodiversity are under such threat or in serious decline?" he said, asking Americans to lead the way in fixing the global food system.

"The way we have done things up to now is no longer as viable as they once appeared to be," the prince said, urging the world's food growers to take "some very brave steps," including developing "more sustainable, or durable forms of food production."

"I have no intention of being confronted by my grandchildren, demanding to know why on earth we didn't do something about the many problems that existed when we knew what was going wrong," Charles said on the second day of his visit to the United States.

Charles kicked off his official visit to the U.S. on Tuesday with a visit to an urban farm in a Washington neighborhood.

He also visited the U.S. Supreme Court and met U.S. service members who were wounded during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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