The Duke and Cambridge has officially started the race to award the first Earthshot Prize. The initiative will recognise new ideas aimed at protecting and saving the environment and it’s hoped it will come to be seen as the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in green issues.
Prince William formally launched the initiative on October 8th 2020 alongside Sir David Attenborough. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, William said he wanted the Earthshot to become ”universal goals to repair our planet by 2030”.
The awards will hand out £50 million over the course of ten years. Every year, a prize of £1 million will be awarded to winning schemes in five categories. The areas are biodiversity, waste, air pollution, oceans and climate. Anyone can enter and the main criteria is that their idea offers a real chance of change for the better in environmental issues. Any kind of idea, from new technology to developing new behaviours, is welcome.
Sir David admitted that some of the ideas that will be put forward might ”sound crackpot” but said the award was for anyone who was doing something that makes a difference on a global scale. The prize money will be spent on developing the idea on a global level.
The name ”Earthshot” is based on President John F Kennedy’s ”Moonshot” project which reignited the move to send people to the Moon. The Duke of Cambridge and Sir David believe that a similar level of ambition is now needed in the environment on Earth.
In the same interview, Prince William said he feels he has a responsibility to do something for the environment, adding that he feels now is ”a tipping point” in the way we interact with the world around us. He says he wants to leave the planet in a better state for his children and paid tribute to his father’s work in the environment, saying he wanted to take on the ”baton” from the Prince of Wales. William added ”he’s talked about this for a long time….I think the dotty person now would be the person who doesn’t believe in climate change.”
Nominations for the Earthshot Prize open on November 1st 2020 and the first awards ceremony is planned for London in autumn 2021.