Scientists, businesses and leaders are among those being urged to vie for a prestigious prize by creating innovative, tangible solutions to the current environmental challenges.
The ambitious Earthshot Prize, promoted by Sir David Attenborough, was announced by Prince William to inspire a new generation of leaders and thinkers to help repair the planet.
The ground-breaking global prize, which will launch later this year, will feature a set of unique challenges to unleash new technologies, policies, solutions and systems for finding ways to help save the planet over the next decade.
Drawing inspiration from the concept of ‘moonshots’ – the phrase used after the 1969 lunar landing to refer to pioneering projects and initiatives – the Earthshot Prize will be awarded to five winners every year, for the next decade.
The multi-million-pound prize will be initially handled by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which Prince William will head alongside Kate Middleton.
The prize’s ultimate goal is to provide at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest problems, ranging from air pollution to climate change by 2030. It has been backed by more than 60 experts and organisations who were consulted in the process and is open to all sectors of industry and society, not just those in the technology sector.
Anyone making an outstanding contribution to solving the environmental challenges could be awarded the prize, including banks, cities and activists. Collaborations, teams and individuals are all invited to sign up.
A series of ‘Earthshot challenges’ will be debuted to kickstart the prize to seek answers to issues including nature and biodiversity, fresh water, air pollution, climate and energy.
Prince William said in a statement: “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 problem-solve.”
Sir David narrated the promotional video and said: “Ours is a world of wonder. Every day it reminds us of its beauty. It touches us, teaches us and astounds us but it also warns us that what we throw away does not go away, that higher temperatures mean a lot more than longer summers, that we can no longer take life as we know it for granted.”
Last year he narrated the Netflix documentary series Our Planet, which looks at the impact of climate change on threatening various environments and wildlife species. He is also an activist for climate change, having spoken at the 2018 U.N. climate talks in Poland and at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
According to Kensington Palace, the initiative is likely to become an independent organisation that continues to involve environmental NGOs.
Winners will involve a significant cash-prize, as well as public recognition at an annual ceremony.