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Prince Charles at the General Assembly
"Mankind is charged both to till the earth and keep it."
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Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Prince in preserve nature call
The assembly
The assembly meets at its home on The Mound
Prince Charles has warned against allowing the use of new technology to upset the balance of nature.

The prince, who was addressing the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said that, alongside meeting mankind's spiritual needs, there was also a duty to preserve the earth for future generations.

A long-standing environmental campaigner, the Prince has previously expressed his views on a range of issues, including the development of genetically modified crops, a topic due to be debated during the kirk's annual gathering.

We are in danger of unbalancing our lives and forgetting the more mysterious, and sacred, meaning of the workings of the universe

Prince Charles

Speaking as the Queen's representative, he told the assembly: "I think of the intuitive promptings of the heart ... of our personal and spiritual needs as human beings; and those inner promptings which define the way we grow our crops or raise our livestock, or nurture and care for the land God has given us, to a wider understanding of sustainability and of the sanctity of the environment of which we are trustees for our children and grandchildren."

The prince, using his Scottish title Duke of Rothesay and acting as Lord High Commissioner to the assembly, stressed he had the greatest respect for the rational mind and the extraordinary advances in technology.

"But the inherent risk in so much of the way in which we understand reality today is that we are in danger of unbalancing our lives and forgetting the more mysterious, and sacred, meaning of the workings of the universe.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles: "Observe limits of technology"

"And we have come to overlook the emphasis on balance which goes back to the beginnings of our Judaeo-Christian tradition, where in the Genesis story mankind is charged both to 'till the earth and to keep it', that is to contribute to the creation by our work, but also to observe the limits set on our exploitation of the natural order."

Earlier, he spoke of his deep affection for Scotland and said he knew the country "infinitely better than any other part of the United Kingdom".

He said: "The sense of honour and pride which I feel in this unique role as Lord High Commissioner is the greater because Scotland has meant so much to me for as long as I can remember.

"Some of the earliest and most treasured of my childhood memories are of happy summers spent in the Highlands.

'Special part of my affections'

"And if I think of my years at school in Gordonstoun, of my long and regular visits to Scotland over a large part of my life, and of the many Scottish people - from all over Scotland and, not least, in the Western Isles - whose wisdom and forthrightness have helped form my own views, I suspect I have come to know Scotland infinitely better than any other part of the United Kingdom.

"Scotland is certainly where a very large and special part of my affections lie.

"Not only for the people of Scotland and the incomparable beauty of Scotland's scenery, but also for the glories of Scotland's culture."

The Right Reverend Andrew McLellan
The Right Reverend Andrew McLellan

Prince Charles congratulated the kirk's new moderator, the Right Reverend Andrew McLellan, on his appointment and wished him "satisfaction and joy" during his tenure.

The prince referred to the Scottish Parliament, elected 12 months ago, which has its temporary home in the General Assembly Hall in Edinburgh, but has had to vacate to Glasgow for this year's General Assembly.

The Prince said: "It is of great significance for the life of Scotland that two of its major historical institutions, the General Assembly and the Scottish Parliament once again stand side-by-side - and indeed perhaps almost on top of each other for the first time in nearly 300 years.

The comments were viewed as part of the process of redefining the monarchy's links with a new devolved country.

The prince's office said he recognised how much Scotland had changed over the last 18 months and how the monarchy should adapt to fit a new mood.

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