In her annual Christmas message, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands drew attention to environmental issues, expressing her concern for the future of planet Earth and the unequal distribution of the planet's riches.
Queen Beatrix said "selfishness and extravagance blind people to the damage that is done to our natural surroundings and undermine community spirit... we have lost sight of the fact that the Earth's resources are finite and of behaviour that is acceptable in a civilised society."
According to the queen, people should be concerned with more than their own comfort and welfare because "avarice distorts the aims of our economy," and she called on politicians to carefully weigh "the quality of the future when making decisions about today."
Green is good
The Dutch monarch said she was encouraged by the many different programmes and private initiatives calling on people to adopt environmentally-friendly ways of living, including wind and water energy and sustainable, responsible methods of production.
However, she lamented the fact that so many of these programmes are overwhelmed by the need for economic growth, adding "all these hopeful moves toward change that come from so many different segments of society generate far less media attention than the drive to make and hold on to money, profits and material goods."
She called on people to work to improve the natural world and their immediate surroundings, "everywhere, people are coming up with new ideas and ways to live in more sustainable, aware life. This is a source of hope in the future and for the future as it is young people who are behind these new ideas."
The queen quoted Mahatma Gandhi, "there is enough on the planet to satisfy everybody's needs but not everybody's desires," and added "we are beings gifted with intelligence and morals and therefore we should use these gifts to take care of the planet and work toward creating a just society."
©Radio Netherlands Worldwide