Prince William ‘inspired’ and ‘proud’ of young people caring for the planet

Prince William chatting at the Young Champions of the Earth event. Picture: Kensington Palace

Prince William has suggested that young people could make a difference to climate change by teaching their families about the effects they were having on the environment. He hailed them ‘shining lights’ and called on them to help with ‘changing the tide’ in the fight against global warming.

William’s comments came as he chatted to a group of seven young people named 2020 Young Champions of the Earth by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in a video call.

The Duke joined seven young environmentalists from the UN Environment Programme’s Young Champions of the Earth initiative. Picture: Kensington Palace

Prince William said he was “hugely honoured” to speak to such “brilliant young people doing such fantastic things”.

He said: “If every young person educates their family on the environmental impact they are having, that in turn is making a difference and changing the tide and creating that momentum.”

“If young people have a tiny bit of that passion – that you have clearly shown a lot of – then there’s a really good opportunity to find your feet and find a way and do good in the environmental world.

“You are the shining lights of that movement and that interest.

“It allows people to see your path, your journey and go ‘do you know what, I want some of that, I can do that, I’ve got some ideas too.”

Among the Duke’s audience was an engineer who turns rubbish into paving stones and an activist fighting to save endangered salmon. All will receive more than £7,000 in seed funding and tailored training to help scale up their ideas. William told them they could also ‘easily be in the mix’ for his Earthshot Prize.

Prince William launched the prestigious Earthshot Prize last autumn. It is a new global prize for the environment to “incentivise change and help to repair the planet over the next ten years – a critical decade for the Earth.”

Five, one million-pound prizes will be awarded each year for the next ten years, providing at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030.

Taking inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot which united millions of people around an organising goal to put man on the moon and catalysed the development of new technology in the 1960s, The Earthshot Prize is centred around five ‘Earthshots’ – simple but ambitious goals for our planet which if achieved by 2030 will improve life for us all, for generations to come.

The five Earthshots are:

  • Protect and restore nature
  • Clean our air
  • Revive our oceans
  • Build a waste-free world
  • Fix our climate

Every year, Prince William, alongside The Earthshot Prize Council which covers six continents, will award The Earthshot Prize to five winners, one per Earthshot.

A distinguished panel of experts will support the judging process, making recommendations to the Prize Council who will select the final winners. An awards ceremony will then take place in different cities across the world, at which the five winners for each of the Earthshots will be selected from 15 finalists. The first awards ceremony will take place in London later this year.

After the awards, each winner will receive a global platform and prestigious profile, with their stories being showcased over the decade and the ambition that their solutions lead to mass adoption, replication and scaling. Each £1 million in prize money will also support the environmental and conservation projects that are agreed with the winners.

It is hoped over the course of the next decade, The Earthshot Prize will find and highlight the most inspiring solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. But the organisers are keen to point out the prize is about much more than awarding achievement – it is a decade of action to convene the environmental world with funders, businesses and individuals to maximise impact and take solutions to scale, to celebrate the people and places driving change; and to inspire people all over the world to work together to repair the planet.

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