The Duke of Cambridge has urged people, businesses and leaders to do their “bit” and set their “own personal Earthshots” to help safeguard the planet.
As the countdown to the awards ceremony for his environmental Earthshot Prize began, William said we may be unwittingly “part of the problem” but now was the time to work together so “we can all become part of the solution”.
The duke launched his ambitious prize to find solutions to the planet’s environmental problems and overcome the pessimism felt by many in its future.
A five-part BBC documentary series screened in the coming days will examine the environmental issues behind the awards.
The final episode looks in detail at the problem of waste and its effect on the planet, from the dumping of plastics in the oceans to wasted food produced with resources like water, fertilisers and electricity.
Speaking from a London skyscraper, William says in the last documentary the fate of humankind is in our hands: “We stand at a fork in the road, we continue on our current path the natural world will decline around us, and with it potentially everything we now take for granted.
“But if we take the other path, if we strive to find solutions to our biggest problems we can create a different future for our children and grandchildren, a better future.
“One in which both humanity and nature thrive, in which the way we live our lives works in harmony with the climate.
“A future with flourishing productive oceans, one that is free of the burden of our waste and that offers, each of us, clean air with every breath.”
William’s Earthshot Prize takes its inspiration from the Apollo moon landings, nicknamed “Moonshot”, which helped advance mankind’s technological achievements, and features five categories or Earthshots which organisers say if achieved by 2030 would improve life for all.
Meet Earthshot Prize Finalist, the country of Costa Rica 🇨🇷. “Costa Rica is determined to show that there is a path to a regenerative and sustainable world” - Andrea Meza Murillo, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica pic.twitter.com/vfVeRbnf8s
— The Earthshot Prize (@EarthshotPrize) September 29, 2021
Every year from 2021 until the end of the decade, winners of the five Earthshots will each receive £1 million after being picked by the judging panel.
Speaking about achieving a positive environmental future, the duke says: “It is within our reach but only if we reach for it now.
“Over the next 10 years the Earthshot Prize will celebrate, champion and scale 50 innovative solutions to the biggest environmental challenges facing our planet.
“But in truth, it’ll take a lot more than 50 solutions.
“It will take every one of us, as individuals, as schools, as communities, as businesses, and as leaders to do our bit.
“To change our choices and our habits, to set and achieve our own personal Earthshots, we can change the world again.
“Today everyone of us may, unintentionally, be part of the problem but from today, working together, we can all become part of the solution.”
The future king introduces each documentary devoted in turn to one of five global problems which were adopted as the Earthshot Prize categories: Protect and restore nature; Clean our air, Revive our oceans; Build a waste-free world; and Fix our climate.
The three finalists in each category are featured during the series and they include a 14-year-old girl from India who has designed a solar-powered ironing cart, the government of Costa Rica which has pioneered a project paying local citizens to restore natural ecosystems, and a Chinese app that allows its citizens to hold polluters to account.
The BBC series will air from Sunday ahead of the United Nations Cop26 climate summit hosted in Glasgow from November 1, with the Earthshot Prize winners announced on October 17.