Prince William’s initiative hailed as he prepares to take centre stage

Prince William discusses The Earthshot Prize in Boston

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Boston-based environment experts have hailed the Earthshot Prize for “sparking innovation” and “offering hope” as the planet faces important challenges that need to be tackled within years to guarantee the wellbeing of future generations. Professor Bob Chen, dean at the school for the environment at UMass Boston, told in the run-up to the second award ceremony of Prince William’s initiative: “Yes, I do think that the Earthshot Prize initiative along with the associated media coverage and promotion is valuable for highlighting innovation, promoting an increased understanding and positive action to mitigate and adapt to climate change and other environmental issues, and offering hope.

“I am hoping the Earthshot Prize coming to Boston and the participation of UMass Boston students in the ceremony may inspire a future winner of the prize.”

Dr Tara Pisani Gareau, director of the environmental studies programme and associate professor at Boston College, lauded the Prince of Wales’s choice to bring the ceremony to the Massachusetts capital.

She told “The Earthshot initiative – coined after John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot goal to advance space exploration – is important for sparking current and future innovation in ecosystem protection, restoration, and regenerative agriculture.

“Prince William and Princess Kate’s visit to the US will raise public awareness of the connections between climate change, ecosystem health, and human health.

“I am excited to hear who the winners of the Earthshot prize are and will highlight the news in my Boston College course, Global Implications of Climate Change, where Gen Z students are actively reimagining what a net zero future might look like.

“Boston and Britain’s shared history of the American Revolution, makes Boston the perfect place to welcome the British Royal Family and the dawn of a revolution of ideas and practices towards a regenerative society.”

Prince William, who has supported conservation and environmental charities for several years, launched the Earthshot Prize on October 2020.

This decade-long initiative invites people to submit their solutions to the five biggest challenges the planet is facing – the protection of nature, air and ocean pollution, waste and climate change.

15 finalists from around the world are announced every year, out of which the Earthshot Prize Council chooses the five winners – one per each category – receiving £1million each to scale their projects.

Two of the ideas that made it to the final 15 this year were championed by Britons.

The first one aims at tackling plastic waste and was created by London-based start-up Notpla.

Its founders Pierre Paslier and Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez have created an alternative to plastic made from seaweed and plants that has been adopted in recent years by a food delivery service. 

Another UK-based enterprise, Low Carbon Materials, made it among the finalists thanks to its efforts to create a new zero carbon concrete block.

Tonight’s event will be led by the Prince and Princess of Wales and include an array of A-listers as performers – including singers Ellie Goulding and Annie Lennox – and hosts – such as actor Rami Malek and football star David Beckham.

Speaking ahead of the event, a source described the award ceremony as the heir to the throne’s “Super Bowl moment of the year”.

They said: “The prize has become the prince’s Super Bowl moment of the year, and he looks forward to continuing to use the platform each year to shine a light on some of the most impactful projects doing amazing things around the world to save our planet’s future.”

The ceremony will be televised on Sunday at 5.30pm by the BBC. 

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