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Prince William shares why he is a ‘stubborn optimist’ about the future of our planet

Prince William shares why he is a 'stubborn optimist' about the future of our planet

I am optimistic. Stubborn optimist.

I believe in the power of human ingenuity and am excited to bring the Earthshot Prize to the United States

This week, in Boston, we want to show what we can all do to help put the world on a path toward a stable climate, where communities, nature, and oceans thrive in harmony.

Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy captured the imagination of this great nation when he uttered inspiring words in 2022 as they were on that bright sunny day in Houston in 1962: “We chose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.”

We face a challenge that seems as insurmountable as putting a person on the moon: reversing the damage to our planet, and setting ourselves on a path toward a more sustainable future.

That’s why I created the Earthshot Prize. Inspired by President Kennedy’s Moonshot, this global environmental award scours the planet to discover, celebrate, and scale groundbreaking solutions to our planet’s biggest challenges.

Each year, we will award the best solutions in five “Earthshot” categories with over $1 million in funding to each awardee to expand their business. These are solutions that will: protect and restore nature, revive our oceans, clean the air, build a zero-waste world, and fix our climate.

Today the lineup of 2022 winners will be revealed at the second annual award ceremony, which is being held in Boston – the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy, a world-renowned center for scientific research and innovation, and a city committed to climate leadership. renewal.

In addition to a passionate focus on telling the stories of those working to fix our planet, what sets the Earthshot Prize apart is our commitment to connecting all finalists, not just winners, with our global alliance – a network of philanthropists, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and strategists who share our vision and can truly enhance These solutions to help change the course of our future.

If he sounds ambitious, optimistic, and hopeful — that’s because he is.

And we took a lot of inspiration from President Kennedy’s words, as he continued: “…that challenge is a challenge we are willing to accept, a challenge we are not willing to put off, a challenge we intend to win.”

This optimistic aspiration is the foundation for everything the Earthshot Prize stands for.

Fixing our planet will not be easy, but the case for taking action to protect our natural world cannot be denied.

Every day we learn a new fact or character, or reach an unsettling milestone that signals our inevitable — and rapid — march toward climate catastrophe.

Just this year, we learned that the number of wild animals on the planet has declined by an average of 69% in less than 50 years; Unprecedented rainfall in Pakistan led to record floods that claimed thousands of lives; The Horn of Africa is set to face its fifth consecutive failed rainy season – in a region where drought has already displaced 1.1 million people; The United States has suffered 15 weather or climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each. In my home country, the mercury reached 104 F this summer for the first time in history.

Against this background, it is easy to understand how overwhelmed, pessimistic, and fatalistic people can feel.

But there is reason for hope.

Over the same period, the finalists and winners from 2021 have made incredible winnings. The Republic of Costa Rica has expanded its marine protected area from 3% of ocean land to 30% and has partnered with Restor, a fellow Earthshot finalist from 2021, to track progress against its deforestation pledge made at COP26. Coral Vita, a coral reef restoration project off the coast of Grand Bahama, has grown more than 6,000 coral segments worldwide and laid the foundation for the first-ever commercial coral farm. Another $20 million in funding has been secured by Pristine Seas, a finalist in 2021, to explore, document and conduct research in the Pacific Ocean over the next five years so we can better protect our oceans; And Nairobi-based Sanergy, which turns sewage waste into fertilizer, has secured more than $50 million in mixed equity and grant financing, making it the region’s largest producer and seller of organic fertilizers but also the recipient of the largest circular economic investment in the East Africa.

This momentum is the result of only five of the 15 finalists on the ground in 2021.

They are living proof that the solutions we need are out there and that there are brilliant people all over the world working tirelessly to reverse the current climate.

The Earthshot Award wants to find their best. We want to celebrate and support them so we can not only increase their positive impact, but also prove to a desperate world that there is an optimistic way forward.

Those few Moonshot years, which saw huge scientific and technological strides forward, were proof that seemingly impossible goals are within reach if we only harness the boundless power of innovation, human ingenuity, and urgent optimism. Let’s not forget the wave of innovation unleashed by Moonshot, which has fueled social and economic progress in the United States for decades.

Dire predictions about our natural world are not the only aspect of this story nor do they have to be our future.

In this crucial decade, I invite all of you to be optimistic, support game-changers and believe in the power of human creativity.

Prince William has long been an advocate for preserving the natural world. He has led international efforts to eradicate the illegal wildlife trade through United for Wildlife, helped bring about a ban on ivory in the UK, and continues to support many global initiatives focused on wildlife conservation and ending human conflict. However, he believes that if we are to be successful in our fight to protect the planet, we need to redouble our efforts over the next decade. The Earthshot Prize was launched after two years of work by Prince William and the Royal Foundation for the Prince and Princess of Wales to develop a project that will support global efforts to protect and restore the environment. In addition to identifying evidence-based solutions to the biggest environmental problems the planet faces, the Earthshot Prize aims to transform the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism that we can rise to the greatest challenges of our time.

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