• News
  • 12th October 2020

Prince William launches £50m Earthshot Prize for environmental solutions

Article by Amanda Doyle

Earthshot Prize
Sir David Attenborough and Prince William discuss the importance of the Earthshot Prize

PRINCE William has launched the Earthshot Prize, which offers £50m (US$65m) in funding for solutions to the environmental and climate crises.

The aim of the prize, which was launched by Prince William and The Royal Foundation, is to provide an incentive to find solutions to repair the planet over the next decade. The prize aims to improve living standards globally and find environmental solutions that work on every level through new ways of thinking, new technologies, systems, and policies.

The name of the Earthshot Prize is inspired by Moonshot, which was the name of US President John Kennedy’s drive to see humans land on the Moon. The prize is centred around five Earthshot challenges: protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix our climate. Each goal is based on scientifically agreed targets including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Five £1m prizes – one for each Earthshot – will be awarded every year to 2030. The winners will be selected from 15 finalists and announced at a  ceremony held in a different host city each year. The first ceremony will take place in London in 2021.

The prize will be awarded by Prince William and The Earthshot Prize Council, and a panel of experts will support the judging process. The council was picked to be as diverse and global as possible. Its members include Sir David Attenborough, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, actor Cate Blanchett, former astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, footballer Dani Alves, and economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Nominations will open on 1 November and the prize is open to anyone – individuals or teams – which could comprise engineers, activists, schools, economists, governments, banks, businesses, and regions.  The prize money will be used to support the projects to help scale the work.

A video was released at the launch of the prize where Prince William and Sir David Attenborough discuss the critical role that it will have to play, and also introduces the council.

Prince William said: “The plan is to really galvanise and bring together the best minds, the best possible solutions, to fixing and tackling some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges. We’ve got to harness our ingenuity and our ability to invent. The next ten years are a critical decade for change. Time is of the essence, which is why we believe that this very ambitious global prize is the only way forward.”

Sir David said: “I really do think things are about to start to move, and this sort of idea could be the spark that is really going to give it the lift and the impetus to develop into something huge. It’s a great source of hope, and I hope it spreads around the world.”

Sir David recently released a documentary on Netflix, A Life on Our Planet, which he describes as his witness statement. In the documentary he gives his first-hand account of humanity’s destruction of nature over the last 60 years, but also makes suggestions on how the world can change to a sustainable path that benefits both humans and the environment.

More information on the Prize can be found here.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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