Prince William declares confidence in human ability to ‘repair and regenerate our planet’

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The Earthshot Prize was founded by the Prince in 2020 and will reward projects every year until 2030. Now the royal who has made tackling the climate crisis a cornerstone of his royal work, has declared his confidence in our ability to “repair our planet”.

William compared his faith in humanity to prevent major climate crises to the belief of former US President John F Kennedy that man could land on the moon.

The Prince was inspired by Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’ project while naming his climate awards.

Speaking previously to The Guardian, the Prince said: “The Earthshot Prize is really about harnessing that optimism and that urgency to find solutions to some of the world’s greatest environmental problems.”

The royal identified this decade as “critical” in relation to worsening climate crisis and marked it as a time for urgency in tackling and overcoming the climate issues we face including pollution, the destruction of habitats, and waste.

William featured in a film which was shown at the ceremony on Friday night where he said: “From Moonshot to Earthshot, the seemingly unsolvable can be solved.”

Just over six decades ago in 1961, President Kennedy vowed to Congress that a man would land on the moon by the end of the 60s.

Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in July 1969, proving that what was thought of as impossible was entirely possible.

In the clip William said: “Earth holds such splendour and gives us many things – beauty, curiosity, joy, and most importantly, Earth gives us life.

“For too long, many of us have taken for granted everything our planet gives us.

“We have polluted our atmosphere and our oceans, and have destroyed many unique habitats.

“This year, we have seen the influence of climate change like never before with record high temperatures and extreme weather events causing devastation across every continent, affecting people’s health and livelihoods.”

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From a list of 15 finalists, five winners were chosen by a selected panel which included the likes of David Attenborough.

The five winners were each part of different categories which tackle the different areas impacting the climate crisis such as clean air and protecting and restoring nature.

The five winners were projects from Oman, India, Kenya, the UK, and Australia.

One of the winners was a project by childhood friends from Oman who devised a way of turning carbon dioxide into rock.

The project called 44.01 would see a cheaper and safer method of storing carbon instead of burying it underground.

Talal Hasan, founder of 44.01, told of how it was a “proud moment” for himself and his fellow team who “started 44.01 two years ago because we saw the very real impact of climate change here in Oman.”

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Mukuru Clean Stoves in Kenya also won a prize for its stoves which are heated by charcoal, wood and sugar cane rather than solid fuels which pollute the air.

Kheyti in India won the award for protecting nature by giving small hold farmers a Kaushik Kappagantulu’s Greenhouse-in-a-Box which protects crops from extreme weather conditions and pests.

UK-based project Notpla, uses seaweed to make biodegradable and natural plastic in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

Meanwhile, the Revive our Oceans category saw The Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia win the prize for training over 60 women in traditional and digital ocean conservation techniques.

Prince William concluded: “The urgency needed to save the planet is ever accelerating, while the time we have to make meaningful changes is ebbing away.

“But just as President John F Kennedy had faith that humankind could put a man on the moon, I have the same faith today that we can repair and regenerate our planet in this critical decade.

“From Moonshot to Earthshot, the seemingly unsolvable can be solved.”



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