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‘This is the time, this is the crossroads’ – Margaret Atwood guest-hosts BBC radio show

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In AWARE News Network
Dec 29th, 2020
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Organic farmer and environmental campaigner: Prince Charles

By Kate Harries AWARE News Network

“This is the time,” Margaret Atwood told listeners of the Today program on BBC’s Radio 4 this morning. “This is the crossroads in the history of our species on the planet and we have to start paying attention or we will become another extinct species.”

Guest-hosting the flagship British current affairs program, the Canadian author (and champion of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition) invited a list of passionate fellow-environmentalists and activists to be interviewed, among them Prince Charles.

Charles told her he became motivated at a young age, in the early sixties, as he observed loss of habitat, destruction of hedgerows and draining of wetlands across the U.K.

“Nothing was sacred, that’s what upset me,” he recalled.

Margaret Atwood Limited Edition Print

Atwood commended him for his early involvement, noting that he was speaking about the dangers of plastic pollution in 1970, long before oceans became clogged with the detritus of our society.

“No one really wanted to know at the time,” Charles said. “I think they thought I was completely dotty.”

He was also an early proponent of organic farming. “What I saw was the overuse of chemicals and artificial fertilizers made from fossil fuels, for goodness sake, the overuse of antibiotics, the overuse of growth-promoting hormones in beef production, the overuse of monoculture cropping systems.

“You have to remember nature is not a monoculture, it is based on immense diversity.”

He said he felt “it would end up in tears, it went too far and there would be no tomorrow.” He said he has spent 40 years trying raise awareness in the private sector of the need for sustainability and the danger of global warming. But it is only in the last 18 months that he has noticed that more business leaders were coming towards his point of view.

“You could never really get past most of the barriers, until suddenly I noticed in the last 18 months, there’s been a complete change of approach suddenly I think people are realizing the crisis, the real crisis, the real emergency we now face.”

But Charles said he’s always worried about the human failing of not taking action until the last moment and that “we would end up wth a catastrophe.”

Charles made a point of expressing appreciation of First Nations in Canada and indigenous peoples around the world, their wisdom and understanding of what is sacred and their regard for the seven generations. (Interview begins at 2:20)

Atwood also talked to Swedish teenager and climate change campaigner Greta Thurnburg.

Among others interviewed on the show were Inuit leader Bernadette Dean of Rankin Inlet; Mya-Rose Craig, a teenage British Bangladeshi ornithologist and campaigner, aka Birdgirl; and people from the Mara Conservancy in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

Also featured was Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre, for its cross-Canada interpretation of Handel’s Messiah — in Arabic, Dene, English, French, Inuktitut, and Southern Tutchone.

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