The Duke of Cambridge has warned that the clock is heading for a turning point when our environmental impact will be irreversible.
At the Tusk Conservation Awards at Banqueting House in London, William said, "Nature is important to all of us," and we are committed to reducing the extent to which we "plunder" the planet's resources.
He highlighted the recent intergovernmental panel on climate change and warned that it was the "loudest warning bell" of the scientific community that we must now take.
The Duke added, "The clock is at a turning point when the effects of our actions become dangerously irreversible.
"We have the responsibility and commitment to the next generation to dramatically reduce the extent to which we are plundering the world's natural resources."
He also said that reducing illegal poaching requires a "global political leadership".
William added, "It was great to see how many countries came together to reaffirm their commitments at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference here in London last month.
"However, for trade to truly turn, we need consistent, global political leadership and action.
"We have to defend the fragile gains we have made with all our might."
The duke attended Whitehall's award ceremony with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge participate in the Tusk Conservation Awards (Jeff Spicer / PA)
Kate wore a blue-green, floor-length Jenny Packham dress with a matching handbag.
The Duke presented the winners of the Tusk Nature Conservation Award, the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award and the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa.
He praised the winners and nominees for their hard work and dedication.
William added, "As always, I am enthusiastic and humble about the great dedication and commitment shown by our 2018 nominees.
"It's always amazing how much they achieve so much against the odds and with so few resources."
The charity was founded in 1990 by its current Managing Director, Charles Mayhew MBE, to protect African wildlife from threats such as poaching, habitat loss, and human-animal conflict.
The Duke became patron of Tusk in 2005 and has provided private and public support to the charity, including visiting his projects in Namibia and Tanzania on his recent African tour.
Mayhew praised William for his "unwavering commitment" to conservation and said his role was "invaluable."
Dr. Pete Morkel, who won the Prince William Award for Conservation, met with the other finalists to meet the Duke and Duchess before the award ceremony.
Dr. Morkel from Zimbabwe is a world-leading veterinarian working across the African continent.
He said he had been "unbelievably impressed" by Williams's "Passion for Conservation."
Dr. Morkel added, "We met in Tanzania for the first time many years ago. From that moment on, I was always impressed by his attitude and his passion for nature conservation.
"Many people in Africa have great respect for William and his brother Harry for their continued efforts.
"Thankfully, there are people like them in the world who continue to explore the issues of nature conservation and the environment around the world.
"Without her, the vital work done by unbelievable people in Africa would not receive the help or the respect she deserves."
Dr. Morkel has been instrumental in some of the most influential conservation translocations of recent decades. These included the forest elephant in the Congo Basin, support for the relocation of six rhinos from South Africa to the Zakouma National Park in Chad Angola, and support for the relocation of giraffes to Murchison National Park in Uganda.
Julius Obwona was honored with the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award for his bravery and commitment in the fight against poaching in Uganda.
Mr. Obwona said before the Duke handed the award, Wildlife Ranger said, "Prince William has shown that he is a man of honor who is very dedicated to the world of nature conservation. We are very grateful.
"He shares my views and my passion for empowering communities to share the burden of protecting our wildlife and our land.
"We need to work with stakeholders and empower communities.
"It is often dangerous, and we must educate the people around us and encourage the love of our world around us."
William awarded Vincent Opyene the Tusk Prize for Conservation for his work, which is changing the way Uganda combats wildlife crime.
Mr. Opyene used his experience in field patrol for the Uganda Wildlife Authority and worked as a prosecutor in setting up the Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN).
The NRCN is a partnership between civil society and the government to improve the enforcement of wildlife laws.
Mr. Opyene said the Duke told all finalists that he appreciates the work they have done.
He added, "It gives us a lot of stamina to work better."
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