British royals announce cash prize for environment trailblazers

The Earthshot Prize is the first of its kind global environmental reward aimed at prompting “a decade of action to repair the Earth”.

Are you out there trying to solve one of the world’s many environmental problems?

Well, a multimillion-pound prize is yours for the taking. The British Royal family has announced that it will be awarding five environmental wizards every year over the next 10 years for their ground-breaking and transformational environmental innovations.

The Earthshot Prize, announced by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, in a video narrated by Sir David Attenborough last week, is the first of its kind global environmental reward aimed at prompting “a decade of action to repair the Earth”.

Prince William, who described the planet as one faced with continual “irreparable damage”, in a release to newsrooms, called the world to swift action to resolve the threat.

The prince will team up with global partners to accomplish the global multimillion-pound project, aimed at inspiring accelerated action on at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030.

“The earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve. Remember the awe inspiring civilisations that we have built, the life-saving technology we have created, the fact that we have put a man on the moon. People can achieve great things. The next 10 years present us with one of our greatest tests — a decade of action to repair the Earth,” said Prince William.

According to a dispatch from the British High Commission in Nairobi, the Earthshot Prize aims to reward progress across all sectors of industry and society, not just technology. The prize could be awarded to a wide range of individuals, teams or collaborations — scientists, activists, economists, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities and countries — making a substantial development or outstanding contribution to solving these environmental challenges.


Five winners from around the world will receive the Earthshot Prize every year between 2021 and 2030.

In addition to a significant financial award, winners will receive large-scale public recognition for their work that will aim to inspire business and government collaboration and scaling.

The new project, which has been under development for over a year, will be run by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as it is fostered to become an independent organisation. The prize is set to launch officially later in 2020 and the Earthshot challenges will be announced in special events around the globe and an annual awards ceremony will take place in different cities across the world each year between 2021 and 2030.

The new initiative will refocus global attention on finding answers to the biggest issues currently facing the planet, including climate and energy, nature and biodiversity, oceans, air pollution and fresh water.

“Advances in science, technology and global communications mean we now know with astonishing detail what happens if we don’t reverse the damage to our planet. But, what if we use those same advances to change direction? In just 10 years we can go from fear to hope, from disaster to discovery and from inertia to inspiration. The Earthshot Prize challenges us all to make this the decade that we build a future to be proud of,” Colin Butfield, Executive Director, WWF said.

According to Dr M Sanjayan, CEO Conservation International, the human race has a very small window of 10 years to jolt earth onto a path of sustainability. “It can sound terrifying or it can sound like one of history’s greatest opportunities. Yes, the challenges are daunting. But, how we react is still, in this sliver of time left, entirely up to us — and that is what the Earthshot Prize is all about. It’s about this opportunity in front of us, right now, to choose to put our energies towards taking action.”