Prince Charles Says Birth of Grandson Focuses World's Challenges for Him

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Grandson sharpens world view: Prince Charles

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CHARLOTTETOWN - Prince Charles says the need to tackle the world's challenges became more evident for him after the birth of his grandson as he highlighted Tuesday the need to harness the creativity of young people to find innovative solutions to those problems.

Known for sometimes being outspoken on social and environmental issues, Charles said in a speech in Charlottetown that it's important to see the connections between the planet's challenges and its well-being.

"They all ... rest on the nexus of water, energy and food security and finding common purpose in meeting our common needs," he said.

"These are environmental, economic and social issues all tied together. In other words, the health of nature's life support systems, which are now under such threat, has a direct bearing upon the health and well-being of people."

Charles listed a number of issues facing the world, including the widening gap between rich and poor, the lack of opportunity for women and girls, youth unemployment, deforestation and overfishing after he received an honorary Symons Medal for his contribution to Canadian society.

"I'm sure that you would agree the world faces huge challenges but has enormous opportunities," said Charles, a longtime friend of Prof. Thomas Symons, a supporter of the Confederation Centre of the Arts where the medal was presented and the founding president of Ontario's Trent University.

The Prince of Wales said the birth of his grandson George last year has had an impact on his views.

"I have long tried to draw attention to this connection but it has come into even sharper focus now that I am a grandfather," he added.

"It is all our grandchildren who will have to live with the very serious consequences of us believing today that we can simply carry on with business as usual as if nothing has changed."

Charles and his wife Camilla were in the middle of a four-day tour of Canada in Prince Edward Island on Tuesday.

Camilla separately toured a residential health-care centre for senior citizens in P.E.I. and Immanuel Christian School, where Grade 6 and 7 students did a letter writing exercise inviting the duchess to their class.

Elizabeth Pithang, 12, said she was excited by the reply from Camilla.

"I thought that she would just write a letter to us, but she was actually coming, so I was really happy," she said.

Many of the events scheduled for the prince in and around Charlottetown reflect his interests, including a tour and the dedication of a new trail system at Bonshaw Provincial Park. Charles also met with representatives of the Canadian Institute of Forestry and students working on sustainable development projects at Holland College. …