Prince William explains why he’s a ‘stubborn optimist’ about the future of our planet

I am an optimist. A stubborn optimist.

I believe in the power of human ingenuity and am thrilled to bring the Earthshot Prize to the United States

This week in Boston, we want to demonstrate what we can all do to help set the world on a path to a stable climate, where communities, nature and oceans thrive in harmony.

Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy captured the imagination of this great nation when he spoke words as inspiring in 2022 as they were on that sunny day in Houston in 1962: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard.”

We face a challenge as seemingly insurmountable as putting a person on the moon: to reverse the damage that has been done to our planet and set us on a path to a more sustainable future.

That’s why I created the Earthshot Prize. Inspired by President Kennedy’s Moonshot, this global environmental award travels the planet to discover, celebrate and scale breakthrough solutions to the greatest challenges facing our planet.

Each year, we’ll reward the best solutions in five “Earthshot” categories with over $1 million in funding for each winner to grow their work. These are solutions that will: protect and restore nature, revive our oceans, clean our air, build a waste-free world and fix our climate.

Today, the cohort of 2022 winners will be unveiled at the second annual awards ceremony, taking place in Boston, the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy, a world-renowned center for scientific research and innovation, and a city committed to climate leadership. renewal.

In addition to our passion for telling the stories of those working to fix our planet, what sets the Earthshot Prize apart is our commitment to connecting all of our finalists, not just the winners, with our Global Alliance ― a network of philanthropists , business leaders, entrepreneurs and strategic experts who share our vision and can really boost these solutions to help change the course of our future.

If that sounds ambitious, optimistic and hopeful, that’s because it is.

And it is the words of President Kennedy that we have taken so much inspiration from, as he continued: “…this challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we do not want to postpone and one we intend to win.”

It is this optimistic ambition that underpins everything the Earthshot Prize stands for.

Fixing our planet isn’t going to be easy, but the case for action to protect our natural world is undeniable.

Every day we learn a new fact or figure, or we reach an alarming milestone that marks our seemingly inexorable – and rapid – march towards climate catastrophe.

This year alone, we have learned that the world’s wild animal populations have declined by an average of 69% in less than 50 years; unprecedented rainfall in Pakistan caused record flooding that claimed thousands of lives; the Horn of Africa is about to face its fifth consecutive failed rainy season ― in a region where drought has already displaced 1.1 million people; and the United States has suffered 15 weather or climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion for each one. In my home country, the mercury reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit this summer for the first time in history.

In this context, it is easy to understand how people can feel overwhelmed, pessimistic and fatalistic.

But there are reasons for hope.

During this same period, our 2021 finalists and winners have recorded incredible gains. The Republic of Costa Rica has expanded its marine protected area from 3% of its ocean territory to 30% and has partnered with Restor, another 2021 Earthshot finalist, to track its progress against its deforestation pledge. during COP26. Coral Vita, a coral restoration project off Grand Bahama, has planted over 6,000 coral fragments worldwide and is laying the foundation for the first-ever commercial land-based coral farm. An additional $20 million in funding has been secured by Pristine Seas, a 2021 finalist, to explore, document, and conduct research in the Pacific Ocean over the next five years so we can better protect our oceans; and Nairobi-based Sanergy, which turns sewerage waste into fertilizer, has secured more than $50 million in equity and grants, making it both the largest producer and seller of organic fertilizers in the region, but also the largest investment in the circular economy. East Africa.

This momentum is the result of just five of Earthshot’s 15 finalists in 2021.

They are living proof that the solutions we need exist and that there are brilliant people around the world working tirelessly to reverse the current climate trajectory.

The Earthshot Prize wants to unearth the best of them. We want to celebrate and support them to not only reinforce their positive impact, but to demonstrate to a desperate world that there is an optimistic path forward.

These few defining years of the Moonshot, which have seen enormous advances in science and technology, have demonstrated that seemingly impossible goals are within reach if we only harness the limitless power of innovation, human ingenuity and technology. urgent optimism. Let’s not forget the wave of innovation the Moonshot unleashed, driving social and economic progress in the United States for decades.

The dire predictions about our natural world aren’t the only aspect of this story, and they don’t have to be our future.

In this critical decade, I invite you all to be optimistic, support game changers, and believe in the power of human ingenuity.

Prince William has long been an advocate for the conservation of the natural world. He led international efforts to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade through United for Wildlife, helped ban ivory in the UK and continues to support many global initiatives focused on conservation and the end of human conflicts with wildlife. However, he believes that if we are to succeed in our fight to protect the planet, we must redouble our efforts over the next decade. The Earthshot Prize was launched after two years of work by Prince William and the Royal Prince and Princess of Wales Foundation to develop a project that will support the global effort to protect and restore the environment. In addition to identifying evidence-based solutions to the greatest environmental problems facing the planet, the Earthshot Prize aims to transform the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism that we can tackle the greatest challenges of our time.


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