Written by: Kimberly White 

Prince William has announced a new initiative to solve the world’s greatest environmental problems. The Earthshot Prize aims to refocus global attention on finding solutions to issues impacting the planet. 

The Royal Foundation revealed that the inspiration behind the prize comes from the concept of moonshots, a term coined by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Since the 1969 moon landing, the term has become synonymous with ambitious and groundbreaking goals. 

“Just as the moonshot that John F. Kennedy proposed in the 1960s catalysed new technology such as the MRI scanner and satellite dishes, we want our Earthshot challenges to create a new wave of ambition and innovation around finding ways to help save the planet,” states a press release for Earthshot. 

According to the Royal Foundation, the prize is open to anyone who is making a substantial development or outstanding contribution to solving the world’s environmental challenges. Prize winners could hail from a variety of backgrounds, including scientists, activists, economists, governments, cities, businesses, or banks. The Earthshot Prize will be awarded to five winners each year over the next decade. 

Sir David Attenborough narrated the film announcing the Earthshot Prize.

While the prize amount has yet to be revealed, winners will receive a hefty financial reward as well as large-scale recognition in hopes of inspiring collaboration among businesses and governments. 

The Earthshot Prize will consist of a series of challenges to be announced later this year. The Duke of Cambridge hopes that these challenges will inspire and generate solutions, new technologies, and policies for the issues of climate and energy, nature and biodiversity, oceans, air pollution, and fresh water. 

“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,” said Prince William. “People can achieve great things. The next ten years present us with one of our greatest tests – a decade of action to repair the Earth.”

The multimillion pound award has been under development for more than a year and will formally launch later this year. The Earthshot challenges will be unveiled in special events around the world. The inaugural awards ceremony will take place in 2021.

Header Image Credit: tsaiproject/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)