The Duke of Cambridge has announced that GBP50m will be awarded over 10 years through his Earthshot prize, billed as “the most prestigious global environment prize in history”, which aims to find solutions to repair the planet by 2030.
Officially launching the prize, Prince William said he felt it was “my job and my responsibility” as the planet reached “tipping point” , and the next decade was “crucial”.
Five GBP1m prizes will be awarded each year for the next 10 years, aiming to provide at least 50 solutions to some of the world’s environmental problems.
William said he had been inspired by his father, Prince Charles, as well as the TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who is one of the judges of the prize.
He admitted it was “certainly ambitious” and the prize had been 18 months in the making. “We felt that the one piece of the jigsaw that was maybe missing was positivity.
“I felt very much that there’s a lot of people wanting to do many good things for the environment and what they need is a bit of a catalyst, a bit of hope, a bit of positivity that we can actually fix what’s being presented.
“And I think that urgency with optimism really creates action. And so the Earthshot prize is really about harnessing that optimism and that urgency to find solutions to some of the world’s greatest environmental problems.”
He added: “We believe this decade is one of the most crucial decades for the environment. And by 2030 we really hope to have made a huge stride in fixing some of the biggest problems on Earth.”
“We must have some hope, we must have some optimism, because if we don’t it is all too much, it is very apocalyptic about things. These are grave times for the environment. But I do believe in human ingenuity, and I do believe in the younger generations speaking up as they are now, that they will not stand for this lack of hope.”
Inspired by John F Kennedy’s ambitious “moonshot” lunar programme, the prize is centred on five “Earthshots” – simple but ambitious goals for the planet. These are:
Protect and restore nature.
Clean our air.
Revive our oceans.
Build a waste-free world.
Fix our climate.
Individuals, people-powered movements, businesses cities, and countries can be nominated for the prizes.
The plan was to “harness our ingenuity and our ability to invent”, William said.