Prince Charles and the Prime Minister will this week receive copies of an extraordinary book as a campaign to tackle climate change gathers momentum.
Images from a Warming Planet, by photographer Ashley Cooper, documents the impact of climate change on every continent. At a national launch this week at the Royal Geographical Society, business leaders and academics committed their support. And when each guest was given a copy of the book, pledges were made to pass them on to influential friends and colleagues.
“One guest told me, I’m meeting Prince Charles tomorrow, I’m going to donate my copy of your book to him,” said Mr Cooper at the end of the event hosted by global business development experts Impact International. “Others were meeting Theresa May and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, and Virgin boss Richard Branson, and offered to do the same. I am left feeling humbled and empowered in equal measure and with a real sense of hope and optimism for the future.”
At the launch, compered by explorer, TV presenter and Vice President of the RGS Paul Rose, guests were told by Impact’s founder and CEO David Williams: “We believe that business should be a force for good.”
They heard from environmental campaigner Jonathan Porritt who said: “It is the world’s poorest who are suffering the most from our changing climate. How dare anybody be dispassionate about what’s going on in the world right now?”
In the audience were representatives from 80 leading business organisations and institutions, including senior staff from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BP, Body Shop, HSBC, Prudential, Rolex, World Pay, and the Confederation of British Industry.
Mr Cooper, from Ambleside in Cumbria, took the audience on a whirlwind tour of his 13 year journey around the world photographing evidence of “the greatest threat humanity faces”. Pictures included forest fires, floods, deforestation, glacial melt and the impacts of industrial and commercial excess.
But there were also images of hope. “You might think this would be an evening of doom and gloom, but there was so much positivity in the room. We have the knowhow, we can fix this problem, but we need to move fast, ditching fossil fuels and embracing renewables,” Mr Cooper said.