You could win £1m by coming up with a clever solution to help the environment

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 3:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th October 2020, 3:18 pm
The prizes intend to find 50 solutions to the environmental crisis (Photo: Shutterstock)
The prizes intend to find 50 solutions to the environmental crisis (Photo: Shutterstock)

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, has launched a prize which aims to find solutions for repairing the planet by 2030.

The so-called Earthshot prize, which has already been called “the most prestigious global environment prize in history” will see £50 million awarded over a period of 10 years to any individual, business, city, people-powered movement or country who comes up with solutions to the environmental problems that earth is currently facing.

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Each year for the next 10 years, five £1 million prizes will be awarded to such people or organisations, with the aim of providing at least 50 solutions to the climate and other environmental issues on earth.

The Earthshot takes its name from former President John F Kennedy's "moonshot" lunar program, and prizes are based on simple yet ambitious goals for planet earth. They are:

  • Protect and restore nature
  • Clean our air
  • Revive our oceans
  • Build a waste-free world
  • Fix our climate

'About harnessing optimism and urgency'

Prince William said he felt it was his "job and responsibility" to launch such a prize as the planet approached "tipping point", adding that the next decade was a "crucial" time for the earth.

He is said to have been inspired by the TV naturalist and UK icon, Sir David Attenborough (who is one of the prize judges), as well as his own father, Prince Charles.

The Duke said that the prize had been in the works for 18 months.

“We felt that the one piece of the jigsaw that was maybe missing was positivity," he explained.

“I felt very much that there’s a lot of people wanting to do many good things for the environment and what they need is a bit of a catalyst, a bit of hope, a bit of positivity that we can actually fix what’s being presented.

“And I think that urgency with optimism really creates action. And so the Earthshot prize is really about harnessing that optimism and that urgency to find solutions to some of the world’s greatest environmental problems.”

Prince William also said, “We believe this decade is one of the most crucial decades for the environment. And by 2030 we really hope to have made a huge stride in fixing some of the biggest problems on Earth.”

“We must have some hope, we must have some optimism, because if we don’t it is all too much, it is very apocalyptic about things. These are grave times for the environment. But I do believe in human ingenuity, and I do believe in the younger generations speaking up as they are now, that they will not stand for this lack of hope.”

Nominations begin on 1 November

He hopes the prize “reaches everyone around the world, from communities, schools, right up to banks, governments, corporations, anyone and everyone."

Nominations for the first five prizes will open on 1 November 2020, with over 100 "nominators" selected from around the world. Those first five winners will be announced at a ceremony in London next year.

The prize is supported by a global alliance of partnerships, and prizes will be awarded by a council consisting of high profile leaders in the philanthropic, business, environmental, entertainment and sporting worlds.

The prize launch will be marked by a series of five short films which will bring Earthshot to life.