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In this undated photo provided by Kensington Palace on Oct. 7, 2020, Britain's Prince William, right and Naturalist Sir David Attenborough react as they disicuss the Earthshot Prize at Kensington Palace, in London.
Kensington Palace/AP
Environment

Prince William and David Attenborough Unite for £50M 'Earthshot Prize' for the Climate

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The United Nations’ Global Goals call for action to halt the climate crisis, as well as protect oceans, air quality, and biodiversity. The ambition of the Earthshot Prize is to find solutions that are underpinned by these goals. To find more about these challenges and take action to help protect the environment, join us here.

Prince William has teamed up with legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough to launch a prestigious prize that will be awarded to individuals or groups developing solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental problems.

The Earthshot Prize, which launched on Thursday, will award five grants every year for the next 10 years. Each grant is worth £1 million, meaning the total award money is £50 million — making it the biggest environmental prize ever, the BBC reported.

Sir David's role is to sit on the panel of judges that will oversee the prize. The judges will focus on five key challenges, or “Earthshots”, that the prize money aims to help fix — all based on scientifically agreed targets, including those laid out in the UN’s Global Goals, the statement from the organisers said.

Specifically, they are looking for solutions that will protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and revive the climate.

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The idea takes inspiration from US President John F. Kennedy’s successful “Moonshot” programme of funding that was announced in 1961. Kennedy had the aim of galvanising technological inventions that would put a person on the moon by the end of the decade. 

With a similar focus, Prince William said at the launch of the prize on Oct. 8 that the next 10 years for the climate crisis were “crucial”. He added he felt it is “my job and my responsibility” to help find ways to repair the planet.


He said he wanted the prize to help create a sense of urgency but also optimism about the climate, the Guardian reported.

“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,” he said.

“These are grave times for the environment,” Prince William continued. “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.”

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The prize is open to people all over the world. Individuals, community groups, scientists, activists, economists, governments, banks, businesses, cities, and even countries are welcome to submit their ideas, the group said.

While it is being organised and funded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation in the UK, a number of global leaders in business and philanthropy have joined the “Earthshot Council”, to judge and promote the prize. They include actor Cate Blanchett, the former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, and Shakira.