Some of the world’s most famous people gathered in London on Sunday night for the first-ever “Earthshot Prize” awards ceremony, hosted by Britain’s Prince William.
The award was inspired by John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” pledge to put Americans on the moon. It was created by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. The Earthshot is intended to inspire innovation as well, but not to reach the heavens. The Earthshot is an attempt to keep the planet we live on habitable for future generations.
The prizes provide recognition and a significant portion of funding for people working on innovative solutions to major environmental crises confronting the planet; the stars came out to help save the planet. Coldplay kicked off the festivities with a pedal-powered performance, with 60 cyclists cranking away to provide all of the electricity needed.
The message from the inaugural Earthshot Prize ceremony, on the other hand, was far from celebratory: the royal host warned everyone in attendance that we are all living in “the most consequential time in human history.”
“I’d like to say something to all of the young people watching tonight,” the prince said. “For far too long, we have failed to do enough to safeguard the planet for your children’s future. Earthshot, on the other hand, is for you. We intend to take action over the next ten years. We will find solutions to our planet’s problems.” Five big-thinking visionaries from around the globe were awarded about $1.4 million each for finding innovative ways to protect the Earth.
The winners are:
Costa Rica won in the category of “Protect and Restore Nature” for a policy that pays local citizens to help plant trees and preserve the country’s rainforest.
Vidyut Mohan of India won the “Clean our Air” award for his Takachar social enterprise, which is assisting in the conversion of harmful pollutants produced by his country’s agriculture sector into marketable bio-fuels and fertilizers.
The Coral Vita initiative in the Bahamas won the “Revive our Oceans” prize for developing a scalable system for growing new, hearty corals on land that can be transplanted into the oceans in small clusters to rejuvenate reefs killed off by warmer waters.
Milan, Italy, was awarded the “Build a Waste-Free World” prize for an initiative that saw the city use massive amounts of food that would otherwise have been discarded by grocery stores and other large entities to feed those in need.
The international Enapter project, which won the “Fix our Climate” award for its AEM Electrolyser — a far more efficient way of producing emission-free hydrogen gas from renewable electricity.
“What we have accomplished in this small Central American country can be done anywhere,” Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada said during the award ceremony on Sunday.
To keep with the theme, no one was flown in for the show, and no plastic was used to construct the stage.
Those who did attend were encouraged to “dress for the occasion” by “considering the environment.” Prince William wore a green velvet jacket, while his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, wore an Alexander McQueen gown that she first wore ten years ago.
“We’ve neglected our wild spaces for far too long,” Kate said, “and now we’re at a crossroads.”
The ceremony will bring its bid to save the planet to one of the world’s most powerful countries next year: the United States will host the Earthshot Prize ceremony in 2022.
“The finalists and winners that we’ve recognized this evening remind us that we do have the incredible ability to turn the improbable into reality, if we work together,” U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry told the prize ceremony in remarks delivered via video.