Britain’s Prince William on Thursday launched a multi-million-pound global prize aimed at helping solve some of the world’s climate change problems, opening a new chapter in the royal family’s decades-long environmental campaigning.
The Earthshot Prize will award five one-million-pound prizes each year for the next 10 years under the categories of protecting and restoring nature, cleaner air, reviving oceans, waste-reduction and climate change.
William’s grandfather, Queen Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip, and his father Prince Charles have both spoken for decades about the importance of conservation and the impact of climate change, years before such ideas became mainstream.
William, the second-in-line to the throne, told BBC Radio it was now his responsibility to take on that baton because the world was at a tipping point and he owed it to his children and grandchildren to leave the world in a better condition.
While he said he had often wondered what his father was “banging on about” he realised now it had been a very hard sell “to predict and see some of the slow-moving catastrophes that we were headed towards”.
Speaking alongside naturalist David Attenborough, William said change was critical in the next decade to help protect and restore the environment.
“By 2030 we really hope to have made huge strides in fixing some of the biggest problems the Earth faces,” William, 38, said.
“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.”
Kensington Palace said the prize drew its inspiration from U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot, which it said had been synonymous with ambitious and ground-breaking goals since the 1969 moon landing.
It said the prizes would provide at least 50 solutions to the world’s environmental problems by 2030.
The Earthshot Prize Council will be set up to decide on the winners with its members to include names from the environmental, philanthropic, business, sporting and entertainment worlds. They will be announced later on Thursday.