In January 2020, Prince William made his longtime commitment to combat climate change official when he launched the Earthshot Prize, a Royal Foundation initiative that will award five environmental activists £1 million each for the next ten years. After he elaborated on the details in a documentary and a TED Talk in October, Kensington Palace said that his goal was to create “the most prestigious global environment prize in history” on the same level as the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize also announced that a council of luminaries, including David Attenborough, Shakira, Cate Blanchett, and Yao Ming, would join William in choosing the awardees.
In an open letter to honor Earth Day on Thursday, the members of the prize council asked the world to “Give the Earth a shot.” They also discussed the tragedies of the coronavirus pandemic and its lessons about the power of cooperation. “This Earth Day, the world is in the midst of the worst health emergency in over a century. Almost three million people have died. Lives have been put on hold, jobs lost, education halted,” it read. “But humanity is rising to the challenge. People everywhere have worn masks, stayed at home and made sacrifices for the greater good. The availability of vaccines after just a year is both a triumph of science and a victory for collaboration.”
In March, Robert Irwin, the son of wildlife expert Steve Irwin, also signed on as an ambassador for the prize. “The Earthshot is gathering together some of the most influential voices in conservation and in science to start this really wonderful conversation about creating solutions,” he told People on Thursday. The first round of prizes will be handed out later this year.
In the October documentary from the BBC, William mentioned that becoming a father helped him decide to be more involved in solutions for climate change. “Now I’ve got George, Charlotte, and now Louis,” he says in the film. “Your outlook does change and that’s why I had to do something because I really felt like by the time my children were 20, at the rate poaching was at, there may not have been another rhino in the world.”
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