Prince Charles admitted people thought he was “completely dotty” when speaking about environmental issues back in the 1970s.

The royal, 72, spoke to BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme about climate change in a special interview which was guest edited by Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood.

He said when asked about the level of push-back he faced when speaking out about the environment all those years ago: “Well a great deal if I may say so, but nobody really wanted to know at the time. I think they thought I was completely dotty.”

“The trouble is I think as human beings we tend to get somewhat carried away by new technologies of convenience and I don’t think the consequences and the collateral damage of these introductions are always, perhaps, thought about,” Charles added.

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The Prince of Wales, who owned a 1,000 acre organic farm in Gloucestershire, U.K. for 35 years, also called for a financial penalty on farmers who pollute the environment.

He shared, according to the Daily Mail: “The reason that I was drawn to it (organic farming) was really [due to] mounting concern about what I thought was the overuse of chemicals and artificial fertilizer, made from fossil fuels, the over use of antibiotics, the overuse of growth promoting hormones in beef production and the overuse of mono-culture cropping systems.

“You have to remember nature is not a mono-culture, it is based on a system of immense diversity.

“So all of these things made me feel it would end up in tears if it went too far.

“Of course the ultimate irony is that in many ways our own internal natural micro-bio mirrors natures macro-bio, so farming in this over-excessive conventional way is polluting us as well as nature’s own eco-systems, that’s why I’ve always felt the polluter should pay.

“If you introduced a polluter pay system it would instantly start to get us on the right track.”

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Charles went on to say how he’d noticed a sudden change over the past 18 months.

He explained, “Bit-by-bit we recruited a few people to begin to start understanding and leading the way, but you could never really get past most of the barriers, until suddenly I noticed in the last 18 months or so there has been a complete change of approach.

“Suddenly people are realizing the crisis, the real crisis, the real emergency we now face.”

Charles added, “I’ve been talking to quite a lot of the First Nations leaders in Canada over the last year, and it’s time we paid more attention to their wisdom, and the wisdom of indigenous communities and First Nations people all around the world.

“We can learn so much from them as to how we can rewrite the balance and start to rediscover a sense of the sacred because nature – Mother Nature – is our sustainer, we are part of nature. We are nature.”