Prince William says his father Charles was ‘ahead of his time’ at £50m Earthshot Prize launch

Prince William said his father Charles was ‘ahead of his time’ as he launched the most prestigious global environment prize in history. 

This new global prize for the environment will incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years – a critical decade for the Earth.

The launch comes after two years of work by Prince William, 38, and The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to develop a project which will support the global effort to protect and restore the environment.

In an interview with CNN, William said that Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh had inspired his interest in the natural world.

He said: ‘My grandfather started doing stuff with conservation a long time ago, WWF, my father was ahead of his time talking about climate change.

I don’t want to be ahead of my time because we are already too late. Now is the time to act. My children look to me and ask me lot of questions, they love the natural world. And they want to know answers and wants to know why there is so much negativity and why is everyone so worried and how bad can it get?

‘And I want to turn round to them and say “we have solutions, we can find a way through this”. Human ingenuity and human spirit and innovation is huge. We put a man on the moon, we can do this.

‘Going through Covid has been horrendous for people and we have lost a lot of people, very sadly. I think what Covid has taught us is that this is the first difficult time that my generation and younger generations have faced. Obviously older generations have been through the war and there is nothing like that. It was truly horrendous. But this has been a tricky time for everyone.

‘If there is one ray of light that can come out of this is that people have been outside more, they have experienced nature, they have heard the birds because the aeroplanes have been less and the roads have been calmer. And I hope people at the moment connect and realise how special the green and natural world around them is. I think if we can find the money, and the collaboration and the willpower to tackle Covid like we have done, we can do this for the environment as well.’ 

To mark the launch earlier, an interview with Prince William and Sir David Attenborough was broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Prince William has launched the most prestigious global environment prize in history, as the five challenges at the heart of The Earthshot Prize are unveiled. Pictured, with Sir David Attenborough

During the interview, the royal says: ‘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. 

And 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.’

‘We believe that this decade is one of the most crucial decades for the environment and by 2030 we really hope to have made huge strides in fixing some of the biggest problems the Earth faces.’

As well as identifying evidence-based solutions to the biggest environmental problems the planet faces, The Earthshot Prize aims to turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism that we can rise to the biggest challenges of our time. 

To mark the launch, an interview with Prince William and Sir David Attenborough (pictured together) will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme today

To mark the launch, an interview with Prince William and Sir David Attenborough (pictured together) will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme today

The five Earthshots unveiled today are: 

1.  Protect and restore nature 

2. Clean our air

3. Revive our oceans

4. Build a waste-free world

5. Fix our climate 

It is the biggest initiative to date from both Prince William and The Royal Foundation and was first introduced on 31st December 2019. 

Since then a global coalition of individuals, businesses and organisations has been established to maximise the impact of the Prize – a coalition that will continue to grow over the coming months and years. 

The Earthshot Prize takes inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot, which united millions of people around an organising goal to put man on the moon and catalysed the development of new technology in the 1960s.

It is centred around five ‘Earthshots’ – simple but ambitious goals for our planet which if achieved by 2030, will improve life for us all, for generations to come.

The five Earthshots unveiled today are: Protect and restore nature, Clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix our climate.

Each Earthshot is underpinned by scientifically agreed targets – including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally recognised measures to help repair our planet. 

Sir David Attenborough received a reception worthy of the hottest Tinseltown star from three eager young fans, Princes George, seven, and Louis, two, and Princess Charlotte, five, after the screening of his new documentary last week

Sir David Attenborough received a reception worthy of the hottest Tinseltown star from three eager young fans, Princes George, seven, and Louis, two, and Princess Charlotte, five, after the screening of his new documentary last week

He presented George, seven, with a tooth from an extinct giant shark, which lived 23 million years ago, which he had found on a family holiday to Malta in the late 1960s

He presented George, seven, with a tooth from an extinct giant shark, which lived 23 million years ago, which he had found on a family holiday to Malta in the late 1960s

Socially distanced in the open air, the Duke of Cambridge and Sir David were offered directors' chairs with their names printed on the back – but as a joke they sat in each other's seats

Socially distanced in the open air, the Duke of Cambridge and Sir David were offered directors’ chairs with their names printed on the back – but as a joke they sat in each other’s seats

The Earthshot Prize will be supported by its Global Alliance: 

This unprecedented network covers every corner of the globe and includes:

• The Global Alliance Founding Partners, a group of the world’s leading philanthropists and organisations who will work with us to deliver the ambition, scale and reach of the Prize through both funding and shared partnership objectives;

• Global Alliance Partners, non-profit environment and sustainable development organisations to bring expertise, global reach and serve as nominating organisations each year; and

• Global Alliance Members, some of the world’s largest and most influential companies and brands who will support our Earthshots, implement ambitious changes within their businesses and accelerate our winning solutions.

The first Global Alliance Founding Partners are the Aga Khan Development Network, Bloomberg Philanthropies, DP World in partnership with Dubai EXPO 2020, The Jack Ma Foundation, Marc and Lynne Benioff, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and further names will be announced over the coming months. Global Alliance Partners include WWF, 

The Green Belt Movement, Greenpeace and Conservation International (full list in Notes to Editors). Global Alliance Members will be announced in due course.

 

Together, they form a unique set of challenges rooted in science, which aim to generate new ways of thinking, as well as new technologies, systems, policies and solutions. 

By bringing these five critical issues together, The Earthshot Prize recognises the interconnectivity between environmental challenges and the urgent need to tackle them together.

Over the course of today, a series of five short films will be released bringing each Earthshot to life. 

Produced by world-leading wildlife filmmakers Silverback Films, the films are narrated by young climate activists including Bindi and Robert Irwin.

The Earthshot Prize aims to find new solutions that work on every level, have a positive effect on environmental change and improve living standards globally, particularly for communities who are most at risk from climate change. 

Prizes could be awarded to a wide range of individuals, teams or collaborations – scientists, activists, economists, community projects, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities, and countries – anyone whose workable solutions make a substantial contribution to achieving the Earthshots.

Every year from 2021 until 2030, Prince William, alongside The Earthshot Prize Council which covers six continents, will award The Earthshot Prize to five winners, one per Earthshot. 

Later today a global list of leaders from the environmental, philanthropic, business, sporting and entertainment worlds will be unveiled as members of the Earthshot Prize Council in a short film which will premiere online at noon BST.

During the film, Prince William will say: ‘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.’

In addition to the Prize Council, The Earthshot Prize will be supported by its Global Alliance, a network of organisations worldwide which share the ambition of the Prize to repair the planet.     

Nominations will open on 1st November, with over 100 nominating partners from across the world being invited to submit nominations of those individuals, communities, businesses and organisations who could win The Earthshot Prize. 

Nominators will include the Global Alliance but also academic and non-profit institutions from across the world who have been selected for their ability to identify the most impactful solutions to the Earthshots.

The 5-stage prize process to select a winner for each Earthshot has been designed in partnership with the Centre for Public Impact and a range of international experts. 

Nominations will be screened as part of an independent assessment process run by Deloitte, the implementation partner. 

A distinguished panel of experts will support the judging process, making recommendations to the Prize Council who will select the final winners.

An awards ceremony will take place in different cities across the world each year between 2021 and 2030, at which the five winners for each of the Earthshots will be selected from 15 finalists. The first awards ceremony will take place in London in autumn 2021.

After the awards, each winner will receive a global platform and prestigious profile, with their stories being showcased over the decade and the ambition that their solutions lead to mass adoption, replication and scaling.

The £1 million in prize money will support environmental and conservation projects that are agreed with the winners. 

Shortlisted nominees will also be given tailored support and opportunities to help scale their work, including being connected with an ecosystem of likeminded individuals and organisations. 

In the months ahead, more information about the design of the physical prize to be received by each of the winners will be revealed.

Over the course of the next decade, The Earthshot Prize will find and highlight the most inspiring solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. 

But the Prize is about much more than awarding achievement – it is a decade of action to convene the environmental world with funders, businesses and individuals to maximise impact and take solutions to scale, to celebrate the people and places driving change; and to inspire people all over the world to work together to repair the planet.

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