WILLIAM: 10 YEARS TO SAVE WORLD
HUMANITY risks irreparably damaging the Earth with climate change, Prince William warned last night.
His dramatic intervention came as Britain recorded its hottest December day and unprecedented wildfires tore across drought-stricken Australia.
William said the Earth was at a ‘tipping point’ and humans had just ten years to save the world.
We can either continue on our present course and ‘irreparably damage the planet’ or use our ‘ unique power’ to solve the climate crisis for generations to come, he added. Invoking Nasa’s missions to the Moon, the prince yesterday launched an ambitious ‘ Earthshot Prize’ to spearhead a decade of action. The award, which has been endorsed by Sir David Attenborough, will grant millions of pounds to those who can come up with solutions to global warming.
William’s involvement signals a
determination to follow his father Charles’s lead on environmental issues.
Palace officials say he hopes to build a unique coalition of scientists, economists, activists, leaders, governments, businesses, philanthropists, cities and countries.
The Earthshot Prize will celebrate the achievements of five individuals, teams or organisations each year for the next decade. Kensington Palace said William wanted the world to show the spirit of Project Apollo in the 1960s and 1970s.
Nasa’s ‘ Moonshot’ missions helped develop innovations such as solar panels, CAT scanners, smoke detectors and advanced water filters. William insisted that the same level of ambition and ingenuity could solve the climate crisis.
‘The Earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve,’ he said.
‘Remember the awe-inspiring civilisations that we have built, the life- saving technology we have created, the fact we have put a man on the Moon. People can achieve great things. The next ten years present us with one of our greatest tests – a decade of action to repair the Earth.’
It is understood that the second in line to the throne consulted his father, who is arguably the Royal Family’s most passionate green campaigner, as well as his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh.
In previous roles, including president of the World Wildlife Fund, the duke has made significant contributions to the debate on the natural world.
Back in 2001 he said: ‘We can’t make the Earth any bigger and we can’t squeeze any more out of its natural resources without changing its whole character and damaging its systems.’
Sir David, who helped launch the prize yesterday by narrating an online video to mark the occasion, was the first person William discussed his idea with outside of the royal household.
The film was subtitled in seven languages, including Chinese and Spanish.
The veteran broadcaster said: ‘The spirit
‘The challenges are daunting’
of the Moonshot can guide us today as we confront the serious challenges we face on earth. This year Prince William and a global alliance launch the most prestigious environment prize in history, the Earthshot Prize. A global prize designed to motivate and inspire a new generation of thinkers, leaders and dreamers to think differently.
‘Visionaries rewarded over the next decade for responding to the great challenges of our time.’
It is hoped that the Earthshot Prize will equal the Nobel Peace Prize within a few years in terms of its significance.
A royal aide said: ‘The picture looks very bleak at the moment, but William was keen to harness the optimism that clearly exists throughout the world as well as all that innovation and talent, too. And this doesn’t just apply to big corporations or academic institutions. This is about individuals, school and communities. Earthshot is open to anyone and everyone.’
Details of the award are still being ironed out but five winners will be chosen each year between 2021 and 2030 and recognised at a ceremony held in different cities.
Prince William’s team points to growing concern over rising temperatures and over the pressures on nature, biodiversity, the oceans, air pollution and fresh water.
The prizes will reward those who have found solutions in what the palace says is a push for ‘fresh optimism and action’ to replace the ‘ current pessimism around the environment’.
The prize will be funded by private donors and by William and Kate’s Royal Foundation, the umbrella organisation for the couple’s charitable work.
Already more than 60 organisations and experts have been consulted to develop the prize.
Colin Butfield, executive director of the World Wide Fund for Nature, welcomed the initiative, saying: ‘Advances in science, technology and global communications mean we now know with astonishing detail what happens if we don’t reverse the damage to our planet.
‘But what if we use those same advances to change direction? In just ten years we can go from fear to hope, from disaster to discovery and from inertia to inspiration. The Earthshot Prize challenges us all to make this the decade that we build a future to be proud of.’
Dr M Sanjayan, chief executive of Conservation International, added: ‘We have a very small window – ten years – to jolt earth onto a path of sustainability.
‘It can sound terrifying – or it can sound like one of history’s greatest opportunities.
‘Yes, the challenges are daunting. But how we react is still, in this sliver of time left, entirely up to us
– and that is what the Earthshot Prize is all about. It’s about this opportunity in front of us, right now, to choose to put our energies toward taking action and uncovering solutions, to choose to create the future we want over settling for the one that we fear.’