Campus & Community

Prince Charles honored with HMS’s Global Environmental Citizen Award

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The Prince of Wales received the Global Environmental Citizen Award from Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. This year’s award, presented on Jan. 28, celebrates the center’s 10th anniversary.

“We cannot think of a person more worthy to receive this year’s award. For decades, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has been a leading international voice in protecting the natural world,” said Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment and co-recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. “We are delighted to honor Prince Charles, whose life’s work has so effectively carried out the center’s mission – helping people understand that their health depends on the health of the environment and motivating them to do everything in their power to protect it.”

“It … [is] a tremendous honor to recognize His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for his environmental achievements,” said center board member Meryl Streep, who presented the award. “Prince Charles is a champion of environmental causes and has helped clear a path towards a sustainable future.”

“Prince Charles has been a forward thinker on environmental issues since the 1970s, on issues ranging from sustainable agriculture to climate change,” said former Vice President Al Gore, who was the recipient of the Global Environmental Citizen Award in 2005. “As we have worked together over the years, I have always been impressed by his ability to understand complex global issues and his deep commitment to solve the pressing issues facing our world.”

Prince Charles has publicly voiced his concerns about the natural environment for decades – in holding seminars and discussions, in advocating and encouraging corporate action, and in setting up various organizations and practical initiatives, such as converting the farm at Highgrove, his country home, to organic methods.

“The Prince’s Charities” is a group of not-for-profit organizations of which the Prince of Wales is president; 15 of the 17 charities were founded personally by Prince Charles.

Five of these organizations work actively to encourage corporate environmental responsibility: The Prince of Wales’ Business and the Environment Programme (BEP), Business in the Community (BITC), Scottish Business in the Community (SBC), The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), and In Kind Direct.

In 1990, the prince launched his own food company, Duchy Originals, to help small farmers find a new market for their goods, while at the same time offering consumers high-quality natural food and promoting more sustainable production methods that improved soil health and protected the environment. The first Duchy Original product was a biscuit made from wheat and oats grown organically at Highgrove. Since then, the company has expanded to become one of the United Kingdom’s best known and most successful organic and natural brands, with more than 200 different products. Duchy Originals generates more than £1 million in profit for charity each year.

Using Highgrove as a successful example of sustainable farming, Prince Charles has led the way for a transition toward sustainable practices in the United Kingdom, warning about the risks of genetically modified food, calling for research into the health effects of chemical farming, and establishing a number of rural development projects.

The Prince of Wales is the royal patron of the Soil Association, the United Kingdom’s leading charity campaigning for sustainable organic farming and responsible forestry. He is also the patron of The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, The Royal Society for Nature Conservation, Marine Conservation Society, International Tree Foundation, and Garden Organic. In addition, he has been at the forefront of the “Save the Albatross” campaign, run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and BirdLife International, and, along with sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur, he launched Operation Ocean Task Force to train fishermen in bird-conserving fishing practices.

The Global Environmental Citizen Award is presented annually by the Center for Health and the Global Environment to one who does outstanding work toward protecting the global environment. The ceremony was held Jan. 28 in New York City. Past Global Environmental Award winners include Edward O. Wilson, Harrison Ford, Jane Goodall, Bill Moyers, and Al Gore.