Earthshot Prize: Royals aim to spur 'decade of action to repair planet'

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have partnered with Sir David Attenborough to launch the 'Earthshot Prize' - a new fund for individuals and organisations working to restore the environment.

Image: Frankie Fouganthin / CC-BY-4.0

Image: Frankie Fouganthin / CC-BY-4.0

Unveiled on the Kensington Royal Instagram account this week, the Prize’s overall aim is to ignite a “decade of action to repair the Earth”.

It will award funding to five individuals or organisations every year between 2021 and 2030 – the deadline for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Funds are set to be allocated by philanthropists, NGOs, businesses and the Royal Family.

Prize applicants will need to demonstrate the ability of their project, concept or innovation to provide a scalable way in which to tackle one of the planet’s biggest environmental challenges – be that climate change, plastic ocean pollution or air pollution. All winners will need to tackle their challenge in a way which restores nature.

Announcing the Prize, David Attenborough called it “the most prestigious environment prize in history”.

Prince William added that the launch of the Prize comes at a time when humanity faces a “stark choice” – between "irreparably" damaging the planet or "leading, innovating and problem-solving".

The Palace has shared the Prince’s optimism, with a source telling the BBC that the Earthshot Prize shows a "massive level of ambition" and is "the biggest commitment the duke has ever made".

 
 
 
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We’re excited to announce #Earthshotprize, a decade of action to repair the earth. Will you help us solve earth’s greatest problems?

A post shared by The Earthshot Prize (@earthshotprize) on

Future of the Prize

Although the Prize already has its own dedicated website, its official launch will not take place until later on in the year.

The launch is expected to take place ahead of COP26 in Glasgow this December, which is being widely badged as the most important UN climate conference since COP21 in 2015, where the Paris Agreement was first ratified.

The Palace has confirmed that the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will operate the Prize in the first instance, following consultation with more than 60 big-name stakeholders across the green economy. However, there is scope for it to become an independent organisation in the future.

Its launch follows on from a string of environmental campaigns from the Royal Family in recent months.

In September, Prince Harry launched Travalyst – an eco-tourism campaign supported by the likes of Visa, Tripadvisor, Booking.com and Skyscanner. The initiative will provide support to businesses and individual travellers alike around the issues of wildlife, communities, tourism growth and the natural environment.

A month later, William and Kate visited a melting glacier in Pakistan and made a call for more education and political action to tackle climate change. The trip came after William interviewed Sir Attenborough at last year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

Sarah George



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