With “Earthshots”, Prince William takes aim at environmental decline

Prince William launched a new global award for the environment today designed to help address some of the planet’s most pressing challenges, from pollution to climate change. The Earthshot Prize will provide over £50 million to support ground-breaking solutions to environmental problems over the next 10 years – a critical decade for the Earth, say experts.

“The plan is to really galvanize and bring together the best minds, the best possible solutions, to fixing and tackling some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges,” says Prince William, second in line to the British throne. “We’ve got to harness our ingenuity and our ability to invent. The next 10 years are a critical decade for change.”

The Earthshot Prize draws inspiration from American President John F. Kennedy’s so-called Moonshot, the drive to put man on the moon in the 1960s. That effort sparked the imaginations of millions of people while simultaneously spearheading the development of new technology. The Earthshot Prize pivots around five “Earthshots” – clear, ambitious goals for the planet which, if achieved by 2030, will improve life on earth for generations to come, say organizers. The five Earthshots unveiled today were: protect and restore nature; clean our air; revive our oceans; build a waste-free world; fix our climate.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is part of a global coalition that has been established to maximize the impact of the Earthshot Prize – a coalition that includes the World Economic Forum, World Wildlife Fund, The Green Belt Movement, Greenpeace and Conservation International.

“We are in the midst of three concurrent planetary crises. Driven by our unsustainable consumption and production, the climate crisis, the nature crisis, and the pollution and waste crisis have been underway for decades,” says UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.  “But in this decade that will define how we live on the planet, we need inspiration, solutions and solidarity like never before. UNEP is proud to support the Earthshot Prize, which aims to find and highlight solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, so that we may together restore the earth on which we all depend.”

Organizers say the prize aims to counter the pessimism surrounding the state of the planet and scale up innovative, evidence-based ideas that make the Earth healthier. Each Earthshot is pegged to scientifically agreed targets underpinned by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world’s blueprint for a better future. They also support the UN Decade of Action, a global push to realize the SDGs and dovetail with another major UNEP honour, the Champions of the Earth Award.

Every year from 2021 until 2030, Prince William, alongside the Earthshot Prize Council, will name five prize winners, one per Earthshot. The prize includes £1 million, which will support environmental and conservation projects that are agreed with the winners – as well as a global platform to showcase their stories of hope and change over the decade, with the ambition that their solutions are mainstreamed, replicated and scaled.

The prize – which is open to individuals, communities, countries, businesses and not-for-profit organizations– will open on 1 November 2020. More than 100 Earthshot partners from around the world are invited to submit nominations. A distinguished panel of experts, including the Director of UNEP’s Europe Office, Bruno Pozzi, will support the judging process, making recommendations to the Prize Council, who will select one winner from each category.

In addition to the Prize Council, the Earthshot Prize will be supported by a Global Alliance, a network of philanthropists, organizations and companies which share the ambition of the Earthshot Prize to repair the planet.

UN Environment