Prince Charles talking to trees (Jul07)

I was sitting just behind Prince Charles and Al Gore at the Business in the Community Awards dinner and wondered whether my image would be appearing in newspapers as a hazy blur over their shoulders.

But I had a clear view of how Prince Charles reacted to Rory Bremner’s impersonations. The one that particularly amused me was Bremner singing in Prince Charles’s voice his own version of Doctor Dolittle’s ‘Talking to the Animals’. In this case he was ‘Talking to the Vegetables’. The Princes’ body language showed that there was some trepidation about what was coming – but when it came he was amused.

What particularly pleased me was Prince Charles’s passionate plea for the rainforests. He described their beauty, deplored their destruction and implored world wide action to save them.

With 1700 people at the Albert Hall, it was an impressive event. Sponsored by M&S – I sat between Flic Allen-Howard, their Director of Communications and Mike Barry, Head of CSR. So I had a chance to get some first hand details about Plan A and how it started. I was intrigued to learn that the name for the initiative came from a brainstorming session. They picked up on one of Stuart Rose’s common sayings – ‘there’s no plan B’.

I’m afraid that the Daily Telegraph House and Garden Fair were not so aware about threats to the planet. I found a kitchen display and challenged the man in charge about designing the cooker next door to the fridge (this means the fridge has to work harder to keep cool and therefore uses more electricity). He was rather baffled by anyone taking an interest in these things.

More switched on was Sally Storey from John Cullen Lighting. Although her display didn’t appear to use energy efficient bulbs, she did offer information on LED lighting and where it would be suitable – for example as a direct replacement for halogen bulbs.

On the last day of the show I came to speak about The New Green Consumer Guide in the open theatre at the Exhibition. I’m not sure I was quite as popular as the Gardener’s question time event that followed – green fingers wins over green lifestyles!

But having lunch with Sue Crewe, Editor of House & Garden magazine there was no shortage of interest. And on another tack, she said it could be a big day in her life – like many others she has made a commitment to give up cigarettes to coincide with the ban on smoking in public places.

Posted originally on Telegraph Blogs by Julia Hailes

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