HRH Prince Charles spoke at the Sheldonian Theatre on Wednesday, on ‘Islam and the Environment.’
His lecture focussed on what he described as the “division between humanity and nature”, which is caused by “global industrialisation.”
The lecture was organised by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, of which the Prince is patron, to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Prince Charles said that “the Islamic world is a custodian…a priceless gift to the rest of world.” He made a plea to Islamic scholars, artists, teachers and engineers to fuse the spiritual and practical worlds, on the model of The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.
The Prince, whose income last year was just over £19 million, said “we are clearly living beyond our means.”
He argued that the current economic and environmental crisis is the result of a deeper crisis of the soul.
“We need a recovery of the soul to the mainstream of our thinking. Only the sacred traditions have the capacity to do this”, he said.
The Prince of Wales blamed a lack of belief in the soul for environmental problems, and said that the planet will not be able to sustain a population likely to rise to 9 billion in 40 years.
He said that it was “baffling” that so many scientists claimed to have faith in God, and yet science was till used in a “damaging” way to exploit the natural world.
Prince Charles even criticised the work of Galileo. Condemning the drive for profit behind scientific research, he said, “This imbalance, where mechanistic thinking is so predominant, goes back at least to Galileo’s assertion that there is nothing in nature but quantity and motion.”