Kensington Palace announced a $65 million initiative by Prince William to focus attention on the environmental challenges. The Earthshot Prize aims to be one of the most prestigious environmental awards, supporting “the global effort to protect and restore the environment.” William says he was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s moonshot initiative in the 1960s, and that sees the environment as the biggest challenge facing this generation.
“The plan is to really galvanize and bring together the best minds, the best possible solutions, to fixing and tackling some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges,” he said in a video released by Kensington Palace on October 8. “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.”
Five prizes worth £1 million ($1.3 million) will be awarded each year for the next ten years. The first prizes will be announced next fall in London, with successive awards ceremonies announced in different locations, representing the global nature of the endeavor. The Earthshot Prizes will be distributed in five categories: Protect and Restore Nature, Clean Our Air, Revive Our Oceans, Build a Waste-Free world, Fix Our Climate.
The project will be supported by a global alliance of founding partners including Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Marc and Lynne Benioff, DP world in partnership with Dubai Expo 2020, the Aga Khan Development network, and the Jack Ma Foundation. (Bloomberg Philanthropies is the philanthropic organization of Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg News.) The international global alliance partners include the UN Environmental Programme, UN Global Compact, Greenpeace, the National Geographic Society, EARTHDAY.org, TED Countdown and the World Wildlife Fund.
The idea for the project crystallized about two years ago on a visit to Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia in 2018, where William encountered innovative ideas to tackle climate change and the illegal wildlife trade. Alongside the naturalist and environmental icon Sir David Attenborough, who has served as the Duke’s mentor on environmental issues, William has taken on a more activist role. Inspired by his father Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, and his grandfather Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, who were early conservation and environmental advocates, William has vowed to do what he can to help raise awareness of the need to protect the planet. As a father of three, William felt compelled to act, according to a source close to Kensington Palace. William understands the “potential of his platform” and realized “he has a Leadership role to play and now is the time to play it,” the source said.
The Duke of Cambridge said in an ITV documentary, “Prince William: A Planet for Us All,” that the Earth is at a “tipping point” and that he hopes to inspire the leaders of tomorrow to come up with solutions for the world’s most vexing environmental challenges. “I feel it is my duty and our collective responsibility to leave our planet in a stronger position for our children…. I really want to make sure that in 20 years, George doesn’t turn around and say are you ahead of your time? Because if he does, we’re too late.”
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