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Monday, 1 January, 2001, 06:40 GMT
Stop 'plundering planet', says Carey
Flooding in Shrewsbury
Recent flooding is evidence of our world's fragility
Humans are in danger of becoming "predators plundering the earth", the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned in his New Year's Message.

Dr George Carey said his three-month-old grandson Linus faced a world of glaring inequalities where 20% of people consumed 80% of the natural resources.

Dr George Carey
Dr Carey fears for our planet's future
"A child born in a wealthy country is likely to consume, waste and pollute more in his lifetime than 50 children born in developing nations," he said.

Dr Carey, speaking from Canterbury, continued: "Our energy-burning lifestyles are pushing our planet to the point of no return.

"Little Linus, harmless though he looks, has the potential - like the rest of us - to become a dangerous predator plundering the earth.

It is dawning on us at last that the life of our world is as vulnerable as the children we raise

Dr Carey

The Archbishop spoke of life's fragility and the personal tragedy he and his wife Eileen suffered when their first child Stephen was stillborn nearly 40 years ago.

Such vulnerability, he said, extended to the whole planet and he mentioned the recent flooding in Britain.

He called for humans to rise to the challenge of looking after what God created.

He said: "It is dawning on us at last that the life of our world is as vulnerable as the children we raise.

The legacy for future generations

"We want our grandchildren to leave this earth better than they find it - but children born today risk doing more to damage to the planet than nurture it."

The Archbishop spoke of a great hope of gaining a further understanding of God.

He added: "I pray that when Linus reaches my age, he and his generation will have done more than we have to heal our suffering world.

"More to ensure that its resources are shared fairly.

"That would be a fitting tribute to that magnificent person, Jesus Christ, who said 'Let the little children come to me for theirs is the Kingdom of God'."

Dr Carey's message is being screened on 1 January at 1255GMT on BBC One.

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