The Earth is dying. It’s a sad truth that seems even harder to face in a year where it seems everything that could go wrong did. The good news is that the consensus among climate scientists and environmental researchers is that we haven’t yet reached the point of no return. We can still turn things around. Sir David Attenborough and Prince William recently teamed up to help do just that.
This month, the duo announced the debut of the Earthshot Prize. Although the initiative is not officially connected to the Nobel Prize, it’s being touted as the “Nobel Prize for Environmentalism.” Attenborough and Prince William, along with 11 council members from six continents, are putting their considerable weight behind solving our most dire environmental problems by 2030. It’s a tall order, but the group is vetting more than 50 solutions and throwing nearly $65 million into the mix to incentivize the world’s most ingenious problem solvers. The solutions all relate to cleaner air, waste-free production, ocean clean-up, protecting nature, and restoring damage already done to the world’s most critical ecosystems.
As the short video below details, the project’s name was inspired by President Kennedy. In 1961, he announced the “Moonshot” idea, which promised to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. At the time, it seemed impossibly ambitious, bordering on crazy. Likewise, the problems Earthshot seeks to solve are challenging. But, with the right ingenuity, solving them is not impossible.
Despite the grim outlook on our environment, there is considerable optimism among the scientific community and ordinary citizens. In an interview, Attenborough told the BBC, “The Earthshot prize is really about harnessing that optimism and that urgency to find some of the world’s solutions to some of the greatest environmental problems.”
The project is open to anyone: Scientists, governments, banks, researchers, billionaires, and garage innovators. Attenborough went on to say that anyone can win the prize. All it takes is a few “amazing people to create brilliant innovative projects.” It’s no longer enough to throw up our hands and declare it a lost cause. The future of our planet and our lives depends on it.
The first Earthshot Prize nominations will open this November 1. An annual ceremony will be held in a different city every year for the next decade, with the first in London in late 2021.
Making a difference in the face of mounting climate change can feel a bit hopeless. But, it starts with small changes in your everyday routine. Check out our top easy tips for going green(er) this year.