Prince William and Sir David Attenborough launch a green ‘Nobel’


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Prize launched by Sir David and Prince William looks for ‘brilliant’ projects to save the planet

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough today launched what they hope will become the ‘Nobel Prize for the Environment’.

With £ 50million to be awarded over a decade, the Earthshot Prize is the largest environmental award ever.

The idea is to give publicity and funding to what the organizers call “amazing people” with “brilliant innovative projects to help save the planet”.

The Earthshot Prize will award five prizes of £ 1million each year for 10 years.

In an exclusive interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today show, the Duke of Cambridge said he hoped the prize would inject some positivity into the effort to tackle environmental issues.

“I think the urgency with optimism really creates action,” the Prince told Nick Robinson.

“There are a lot of people who want to do a lot of good things in the environment and what they need is a little bit of a catalyst, a little bit of hope, a little bit of positivity so that we can actually fix what is presented, ”he said.

These “Earthshots” are intended as “universal goals to repair our planet by 2030” and will cover five categories: climate, oceans, air pollution, waste and biodiversity.

Who and what is eligible?

Prince William and Sir David say they want to hear from anyone who thinks they’ve spotted something that could really make a difference to the environment.

“We hope this Earthshot award reaches everyone in the world,” the prince told Radio 4.

“From communities to schools, to banks, to governments, to businesses – everyone is a part of it and everyone can find the solutions we need. ”

Even suggestions that “may seem far-fetched” are welcome, added Sir David, provided they have the potential to make a difference on what he called “the global scale”.

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Coral bleaching is a major problem for the oceans – one of the price categories

The hope is that the prize will encourage people to come up with original and unexpected suggestions.

Organizers say the aim is to find “new solutions” that improve living standards globally, especially among communities most exposed to climate change.

Prizes could be awarded for new technologies, new ways of doing things, or new policies: basically any new ideas to help address the five global challenges that the prize has identified.

And nominations can come from anyone.

Organizers say an individual, group, team or collaboration could win a prize. They can come from community groups, scientists, activists, economists, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities and even countries.

Why Earthshot and why now?

The name Earthshot was chosen to echo the so-called Moonshot: the massive American project to bring the first humans back to the moon in the 1960s, initiated by President John F. Kennedy.

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough believe a similar effort – but this time global – is now needed to tackle environmental issues.

“By 2030, we really hope that we have made huge strides in solving some of the problems on Earth,” Prince William told Nick Robinson.

The need to act to repair human damage to the environment has never been greater, Sir David warned.

“Suddenly we see that the writing is on the wall,” he told Radio 4.

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Green peace


Man-made fires designed to clear the Brazilian rainforest of livestock and crops

We are already seeing coral reefs dying, forests disappearing, the North Pole starting to melt, he said.

“People can see that this is happening and it is a pressing issue now. ”

Sir David said the aim is for the award to give ideas “that strength, that financial impetus to spread and grow”.

Nominations will open on November 1, 2020 with an annual awards ceremony to be held in a different city each year, starting with London in the fall of 2021.

The £ 1million offer is meant as an incentive for people to apply, but don’t think you can book yourself a Caribbean vacation or buy yourself a Lamborghini if ​​you win the rules are just the pot for. every Earthshot must be spent on development. your idea and try to get it adopted around the world.

Prince William and Sir David will be joined on an Earthshot Prize Board by celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, sports, business, charity and the environment. They will act as ambassadors, advertising the award and its winners and helping to motivate people around the world to take environmental action.

And Earthshot is supported by a coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations who will help maximize the impact of the award recipients’ ideas.

Why did the Duke of Cambridge support the project?

Prince William has said he intends to take over from his father, Prince Charles, who has long been an advocate for action on environmental issues.

“I now feel it’s my responsibility,” he told Nick Robinson.

He said he thinks we are “at a tipping point” and the price is in trying to put the planet back to its children and grandchildren “in a better shape than we found it.”

Nick Robinson quoted Prince Charles in a previous Today Program interview as saying that sometimes his ideas about the environment were seen as a bit “picky.”

He asked the prince: “Has there ever been a time when even you, I wonder, you thought, what is my father up to? “

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Prince William has said he intends to take over environmental responsibility from his father, Prince Charles

The Duke of Cambridge replied: “I regularly wonder what my father is talking about. I’m sure all the sons think the same.

“He talked about it for a long time and long before people cared about climate change. So, I always listened, learned and believed in what he said. ”

“I think the picky person now would be the person who doesn’t believe in climate change,” the prince added.

“Do you have any idea how this fight can go on when you’re gone?” Mr Robinson asked Sir David, who celebrated his 94th birthday in May.

The broadcaster said he believed there had been a global shift in attitude towards environmental issues.

Nowadays, people see it not just as a “grumpy and harmless interest”, but as “a matter of life and death”.

“The catastrophe we are facing is of a magnitude that has not been seen in the history of mankind,” said Sir David.

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Why a price?

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough have set themselves a dizzyingly ambitious goal of “fixing the planet by 2030”.

So where will the ideas they want to save the planet come from?

The answer is, we just don’t know – you might have an idea that, with a little publicity and money, could reshape our world.

This is why awarding can be so effective: we can all apply.

The famous Longitude Prize is a good example.

It was offered in 1714 to the first person who could solve the problem of how to indicate your longitude at sea.

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A humble watchmaker, John Harrison, came up with a solution to the Longitude price in the 18th century

Knowing your longitude is crucial for navigation, it measures your distance east or west, but Britain’s top sailors and astronomers had failed to solve the problem.

The solution came from such an unexpected source – a humble watchmaker called John Harrison – that authorities refused to grant it for many years.

Prince William is hoping that similar ideas from left field will be submitted for these “Earthshots”.

They know there is good evidence that the larger the pool of ideas, the more effective the proposed solutions.

Follow the InnoCentive online forum. It allows people to post details about problems that confuse them and offer rewards for participatory solutions.

One study found that the further away the problem was from the solver’s expertise, the more likely it was to solve it.

Which is another way of saying we could all hold the key to solving an environmental puzzle.

Follow Justin on Twitter.

If you’d like to hear an in-depth interview with Sir David Attenborough, you can download a new BBC Sounds podcast on climate change – which is released today. “What planet are we on? is brought to you by science and natural history broadcaster, Liz Bonnin – it examines how we live on the planet and offers things we can all do to make a difference. It is now available for download on BBC Sounds.


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