Prince William, heir to the British Throne, appears to have decided what he wants his legacy to be: to transform the global dialogue about environmental change from one of pessimism and blame to one of hope through genuine, sustainable progress.
To that end, Prince William will dedicate $65 million to founding a new award, one he wants to become on par with the Nobel Peace Prize: the Earthshot Prize.
“There are wonderful people doing incredible things around the world, all within small communities everywhere,” he said in an interview with CNN. “If one of them might have an amazing idea, we can scale that up, we can use that to really tackle some issues.”
Beginning in 2021, Prince William’s Earthshot Prize will be given to five people or organizations providing solutions to the five “earthshot” objectives: protecting and restoring natural resources, cleaning the air, halting and reversing the damage to the oceans, a waste-free world, and halting climate damage. Each winner will be awarded £1 million ($1.3 million), making it a slightly more lucrative prize than Nobel.
Prince William and the panel he is assembling around the award hope to see a real race for each prize, meaning multiple solutions being offered up and tested for each objective every year.
So far, the assembled prize council includes high profile names such as David Attenborough and Jack Ma, but few scientists. Prince William hopes to change that as international interest picks up.
“My grandfather started doing stuff with conservation a long time ago, WWF particularly,” said Prince William. “My father was ahead of his time talking about climate change. I don’t want to be ahead of my time because then we’re already too late — now is the time to act.”
The Earthshot name comes from Kennedy’s “moonshot” effort – a legendary example of a target, a solution, and a successful execution of something utterly grand.
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