Prince William and the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just launched “the most ambitious and prestigious” global environmental award in history - the Earthshot Prize. It will inject £50 million to help develop climate solutions, as well as a much-needed sense of positivity and inspiration. The idea is to celebrate the people and places driving change, and highlight human ingenuity, in order to turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism. Now that’s the kind of mission we can get behind.
The name is inspired by John F. Kennedy’s ‘moonshot’ campaign of the 1960s, which aimed to put man on the moon within the decade.
Though it seemed like an insurmountable task at the time, millions of people were united around this goal and technology developed rapidly in response. In 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk the moon.
The term ‘moonshot’ is now synonymous with an ambitious, innovative, ground-breaking long-term plan which aims to tackle a large problem. And that’s exactly what we need right now to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next 10 years – a critical period for the Earth.
“We must harness that same spirit of human ingenuity and purpose and turn it with laser sharp focus and urgency on the most pressing challenge we have ever faced – repairing our planet.” ~ Prince William
The prize is based around five simple but ambitious ‘Earthshots’ – goals to be achieved within the decade, centered around critical environmental challenges and rooted in science.
By 2030, the natural world will be growing, not shrinking:
> Preserve habitats, including rainforests, grasslands, lakes, rivers and wetlands.
> End poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking.
> Create jobs for people to look after natural land.
> Stop deforestation and increase reforestation.
By 2030, everyone in the world will breathe air that at least meets the official World Health Organisation (WHO) standard for cleanliness:
> Shift from fossil fuels to renewables.
> Eliminate modes of transport that emit toxic fumes.
> Actively remove pollution from the air.
By 2030, the oceans will be repaired and preserved so they are stable and can sustain life for future generations:
> End criminal and unsustainable fishing practices.
> Repair coral reefs.
> Actively remove plastic pollution.
> Revolutionise our understanding of the underwater world.
By 2030, waste will be eliminated and materials will exist in a circular economy:
> Reduce food waste.
> Eliminate single-use packaging and products.
> Revolutionise waste management systems.
> Give new life to things destined for landfill, so everything is reused, repurposed or recycled.
By 2030, the economy will be carbon neutral (in a way that lets every culture, community and country thrive):
> Actively remove carbon from the atmosphere.
> Create jobs in carbon-neutral sectors.
> Develop renewable energy.
> Build defences to protect people from climate driven disasters.
Photo credit: The Telegraph
Five prizes, one for each Earthshot, will be awarded every year for the next 10 years. Prizes will be awarded to the people whose solutions make the most progress towards each environmental goal.
The solutions should have a positive effect on environmental change and improve living standards globally, particularly for communities who are most at risk from climate change.
The winners will receive £1 million to help them scale up their work, as well as tailored support, publicity opportunities and connections. Prizes can be awarded to individuals – scientists, activists, leaders, economists, for example. Or to groups – community projects, governments, banks, businesses, cities, or even entire countries.
You cannot enter yourself into the competition. Potential winners will be put forward by a team of 100+ nominating partners – academic and non-profit organisations and brands that support the Earthshot mission, and whose expertise and wide network enables them to identify impactful solutions. Names include Greenpeace, the WWF and the World Economic Forum. The Earthshot Prize Council will then select the five winners from a short-list.
The Prize Council
The Prize Council is the team that picks the final winners. It consists of influential individuals from a range of sectors and nations, all of whom are committed to championing positive environmental action…
> Prince William – advocate for nature and wildlife conservation.
> Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah – international human rights advocate.
> Dani Alves – professional footballer.
> Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – economist and international development expert.
> Cate Blanchett – actor, producer and humanitarian.
> Jack Ma – philanthropist, entrepreneur and UNSDG Advocate.
> Indra Nooyi – business executive and former Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo.
> Naoko Yamazaki – former astronaut on board the International Space Station.
> Christiana Figueres – Former UN climate chief, responsible for the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
> Sir David Attenborough – broadcaster and natural historian.
> Shakira – singer and philanthropist.
> Yao Ming – Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and environmentalist.
> Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim – environmental activist.
A Giant Leap for Mankind
Here at Cactus Energy, we are big fans of this new initiative. It’s all about celebrating and inspiring progress, and that’s something the world desperately needs right now.
The first award ceremony will be held in London in 2021. Until then, keep up to date by following @earthshotprize on Instagram.