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'Everything really does change': Prince Harry opens up about how fatherhood is connected to his environmentalism

By Heather Cichowski

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Prince Harry is known for his environmentalism and encouraging us all to be good stewards to the planet. And fatherhood has changed his outlook and further cemented his feelings about why it's important to take care of the Earth, he says.

On Dec. 2, the Duke of Sussex helped launch the WaterBear Network, the "first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet." He appeared in a video for the free streaming service and opened up about the connections between being Archie's dad and taking action on climate change.

"The moment you become a father everything really does change because then you start to realize, well, what is the point in bringing a new person into this world when they get to your age and it's on fire?" Harry said, referring to his and Duchess Meghan's son.

"We can't steal their future. We really can't. That's not the job we're here for," he continued.

"I've always believed that hopefully we can leave the world in a better place than when we found it."

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During his appearance, the 36-year-old talked about the coronavirus pandemic and how tumultuous 2020 has been for everyone.

"Somebody said to me at the beginning of the pandemic, it's almost as if Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms for bad behaviour," he stated in the video for WaterBear. "To really take a moment and think about what we've done."

MORE: Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry host TIME100 Talk about creating kinder online spaces

Harry's appearance came shortly after Meghan announced the family had suffered pregnancy loss. In an emotional essay titled "The Losses We Share" which was published in The New York Times last week, the Duchess of Sussex revealed she suffered a miscarriage in the summer.

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Harry has spoken many times about how fatherhood has changed his views since he and Meghan welcomed Archie in 2019. Months after the little boy's birth, the duke made some comments at the National Youth Mentoring Summit, organized by the Diana Awards charity, about how becoming a dad changed his perspective on what it means to be a good role model.

"I’m struck by a few things today, most of which is the power of the invisible role model," he said at the time. "The person who may be sitting here today that doesn't realize that someone looks up to them, that – for that person – you inspire them to be kinder, better, greater, more successful, more impactful.

"Perhaps it's the newfound clarity I have as a father knowing that my son will always be watching what I do, mimicking my behaviour, one day maybe even following in my footsteps."

Prince William, who launched the ambitious Earthshot Prize in November, has also spoken about how being a father has made him more conscious of his impact on the planet.

In the ITV documentary Prince William: A Planet for Us All, released in September, the Duke of Cambridge honoured Prince Charles and Prince Philip for setting the stage for his environmentalism.

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"And I really want to make sure that, in 20 years, George doesn't turn 'round and say, 'Are you ahead of your time?' Because if he does, we're too late," he said in the film.

He said he tries to instill George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with the belief they can make a difference when it comes to the Earth – and that he wants to make sure their generation is ensured of a solid future on the planet.

"Now I have got George, Charlotte and Louis in my life – your outlook does change," he said. "You want to hand over to the next generation, the wildlife in a much better condition."

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