Stalling population growth vital to Earth's future, says prince

POPULATION growth must be halted if the world is to live within "nature's benevolence and bounty", Prince Charles insisted yesterday.

The prince said increased industrialisation and population growth was harming the world and was unsustainable.

In the speech in Oxford, entitled Islam and the Environment, he said schemes in places such as Bangladesh had lowered the number of children born from an average of six to three, but that

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the world's population was still growing at the rate of around 60 million each year.

"With mega-cities growing as they are, I fear there is little chance these sorts of schemes can help the plight of many millions of people unless we all face up to the fact more honestly than we do that one of the biggest causes of high birth rates remains cultural," he said.

"It raises some very difficult moral questions, but do we not each one of us carry the same responsibility towards Earth? It is surely time to ask if we can come to a view that balances the traditional attitude to the sacred nature of life on the one hand with, on the other, those teachings within each of the sacred traditions that urge humankind to keep within the limits of nature's benevolence and bounty."

The prince also said that Islam was able to offer much to help the world maintain a balance and reconnect with nature as the Earth struggles with increased industrialisation and population growth.

He said that green technology cannot solve the problem: "It is no good just fixing the pump and not the well."