Duke’s mul­ti­mil­lion-pound Earthshot Prize to save planet

Earthshot Prize lays down chal­lenge to find so­lu­tions to en­vi­ron­men­tal threats within the next decade

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Vic­to­ria Ward

‘The next 10 years present us with one of our great­est tests – a decade of ac­tion to re­pair the Earth’

THE Duke of Cam­bridge yes­ter­day an­nounced “the most pres­ti­gious en­vi­ron­men­tal prize in his­tory” in a bid to gal­vanise a decade of ac­tion to re­pair the planet.

The Earthshot Prize aims to en­cour­age and in­spire peo­ple across the world to find in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to what is de­scribed as one of the gravest prob­lems faced by the mod­ern world.

A mul­ti­mil­lion-pound prize will be awarded to five win­ners a year over 10 years, as the Duke aims to close the decade with at least 50 so­lu­tions to the en­vi­ron­men­tal cri­sis.

Likened to the No­bel Prize in terms of rigour and stature, it aims to re­frame the de­bate on the en­vi­ron­ment by hail­ing an era of fresh op­ti­mism and ac­tion, re­plac­ing cur­rent pes­simism.

The Duke, 37, cited the con­cept of moon­shots – the ar­ray of in­no­va­tions spawned by man’s mis­sion to reach the Moon in the Six­ties – as proof that new think­ing could “launch a ti­dal wave of am­bi­tion”. He said: “Peo­ple can achieve great things. The next 10 years present us with one of our great­est tests – a decade of ac­tion to re­pair the Earth.”

The Duke joined forces with Sir David At­ten­bor­ough to make the an­nounce­ment just as the first coun­tries around the globe saw in the New

Year and a new decade. In a film made to launch the Earthshot Prize, Sir David said: “The spirit of the moon­shot can guide us to­day as we con­front the se­ri­ous chal­lenges we face on Earth.”

Five chal­lenges will be an­nounced in the com­ing months, while an an­nual awards cer­e­mony will take place each year be­tween 2021 and 2030.

The prize has been about a year in the mak­ing as the Duke con­sulted around 60 or­gan­i­sa­tions and ex­perts.

THE Duke of Cam­bridge has warned that the Earth is “at a tip­ping point” and that we face a “stark choice” when it comes to sav­ing the planet.

As he launched a mul­ti­mil­lion pound en­vi­ron­men­tal award, called the Earthshot Prize, he cau­tioned that time was run­ning out, and urged that it is now time to re­place neg­a­tiv­ity with pos­i­tive ac­tion.

He said: “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 prob­lem­solve. Re­mem­ber the awe-in­spir­ing civil­i­sa­tions that we have built, the life-sav­ing tech­nol­ogy we have cre­ated, the fact that we have put a man on the Moon.

“Peo­ple can achieve great things. The next 10 years present us with one of our great­est tests – a decade of ac­tion to re­pair the Earth.”

The Earthshot Prize will be awarded to the win­ners of five dif­fer­ent chal­lenges an­nounced an­nu­ally in this decade. It could be won by an in­di­vid­ual, a fam­ily, a team or a com­mu­nity who makes a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to­wards any of the five prob­lems. In ad­di­tion to the prize fund, it is hoped that world­wide recog­ni­tion for win­ners’ work will in­spire world­wide busi­ness and gov­ern­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Its name is in­spired by the con­cept of moon­shots, which since the Amer­i­can mis­sion to put a man on the Moon has be­come short­hand for am­bi­tious and ground-break­ing goals.

It is hoped that the prize will lead to tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs as the moon­shot that John F Kennedy pro­posed in the Six­ties led to new tech­nol­ogy such as MRI scan­ners, satel­lite dishes, smoke de­tec­tors and ad­vanced wa­ter fil­ters.

Kens­ing­ton Palace said the pro­ject aims to fo­cus global at­ten­tion on find­ing an­swers to the big­gest is­sues cur­rently fac­ing the planet, in­clud­ing cli­mate and en­ergy, na­ture and bio­di­ver­sity, oceans, air pol­lu­tion and fresh wa­ter.

The pro­ject was launched with a short film, nar­rated by Sir David At­ten­bor­ough, who the Duke con­sulted about it. With its global as­pi­ra­tions, it was made avail­able in English, French, Span­ish, Por­tuguese,

Chi­nese, Ja­panese and Ara­bic.

The Duke spent a year talk­ing to ex­perts as he sought in­spi­ra­tion about how he could use his po­si­tion to help drive pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal change.

His con­clu­sion was that gen­eral at­ti­tudes were pes­simistic but that telling peo­ple they could no longer travel by air was not the an­swer. He re­alised that in­cen­tives were needed.

A Kens­ing­ton Palace source said the Duke’s mind was made up when he was told that the most in­no­va­tive peo­ple on Earth were work­ing on get­ting to Mars, when ac­tu­ally, we should be re­pair­ing our own planet.

The Earthshot ini­tia­tive aims to cre­ate a global net­work of sup­port­ers. The prize money will come from a coalition of back­ers, and Kens­ing­ton

Palace is also hop­ing for com­mer­cial spon­sors. Aides have worked with the or­gan­is­ers of the No­bel Prize, which sim­i­larly be­stows a set of in­ter­na­tional awards an­nu­ally in sev­eral cat­e­gories. Each No­bel Prize last year was worth 9mil­lion Swedish Kronor (£875,610).

This year’s Earthshot chal­lenges will be launched in the spring or sum­mer, with the first awards cer­e­mony taking place next year. The prize was de­signed and will be ini­tially run by The Royal Foun­da­tion of The Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge, but the long-term plan is for it to be­come an in­de­pen­dent or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Colin But­field, executive director of the World Wide Fund for Na­ture, said: “Ad­vances in sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and

‘The next 10 years present us with one of our great­est tests – a decade of ac­tion to re­pair the Earth’

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 10 years, we can go from fear to hope, from in­er­tia to in­spi­ra­tion.

“The Earthshot Prize chal­lenges us all to make this the decade we build a fu­ture to be proud of.”

Dr M San­jayan, chief executive of Con­ser­va­tion In­ter­na­tional, said: “We have a very small win­dow, 10 years, to jolt earth on to a path of sus­tain­abil­ity. Yes, the chal­lenges are daunt­ing, but how we re­act is still, in this sliver of time left, en­tirely up to us. That is what the Earthshot Prize is all about. It’s about this op­por­tu­nity in front of us to put our en­er­gies to­wards taking ac­tion and un­cov­er­ing so­lu­tions, to choose to cre­ate the fu­ture we want over set­tling for the one we fear.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex have posted a New Year’s mes­sage on In­sta­gram, fea­tur­ing the Duke hold­ing their son, Archie Mount­bat­ten-wind­sor, taken by the Duchess. It also fea­tured a video re­cap­ping their year. In the mes­sage they say ‘we’ve loved meet­ing so many of you around the world. We hope 2020 brings you health and hap­pi­ness’

The Duke of Cam­bridge, pic­tured in the moun­tains of Pak­istan last Oc­to­ber, de­vised the Earthshot Prize in re­sponse to the planet be­ing at what he called ‘a tip­ping point’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.