Nature and Biodiversity

The Duke of Cambridge has just launched the Earthshot Prize. Here's everything you need to know

The Duke of Cambridge earthshot environment change prize multi million climate change

The Duke of Cambrdige said he owed it to his children and grandchildren to leave the world in a better condition. Image: REUTERS

Joe Myers
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This piece uses Reuters reporting.

  • The Duke of Cambridge has launched a multi-million-pound prize to encourage people to find solutions to the world’s environmental problems.
  • He teamed up for the effort with celebrities including Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Sir David Attenborough and former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.
  • The Earthshot Prize will award five £1 million prizes each year for the next 10 years in five different categories.
  • The categories are: Nature, Air, Ocean, Waste and Climate.
  • It's hoped the prizes will provide at least 50 environmental solutions by 2030.
  • The World Economic Forum is a Global Alliance Partner of the Earthshot Prize.

The Duke of Cambridge launched a multi-million-pound environmental prize on Thursday, teaming up with celebrities including footballer Dani Alves and Alibaba founder Jack Ma to launch a prize aimed at tackling the world’s climate problems.

With the high-profile project, The Duke, grandson of the Queen and second-in-line to the throne, opened up 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, cleaning our air, reviving our oceans, building a waste-free world, and fixing our climate.

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The Duke has recruited a dozen global celebrities to join the Earthshot Prize Council to decide the winners.

As well as Brazilian footballer Alves and Chinese entrepreneur Ma, they include British naturalist David Attenborough, Queen Rania of Jordan, Australian actor Cate Blanchett, Colombian singer Shakira and former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.

The Duke’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.

The Duke 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”.

“This is a generational baton-handling, my grandfather started it, my father has picked it up and really accelerated that and I feel right now that it’s my responsibility, I really feel that we are at a tipping point,” he said.

Speaking alongside naturalist David Attenborough, The Duke 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,” The Duke, 38, said.

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“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.”

Nominations open on Nov. 1 ahead of the first awards ceremony in the autumn next year.

The World Economic Forum hosts a number of global environment collaborations, including 1T.org, Friends of Ocean Action, Global Plastic Action Partnership, Mission Possible, Tropical Forest Alliance among others.

“As a Global Alliance Partner of the Earthshot Prize, the Forum is excited to offer its network of global initiatives to help The Duke of Cambridge and the Earthshot Prize Council find the next generation of solutions to our global environmental challenges” said Dominic Waughray, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum.

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.

Further members of the Earthshot Prize Council will be announced in the coming months.

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