The Duke of Cambridge is laser-focused on fighting the climate crisis.
On Saturday, Prince William delivered his first TED Talk as part of “Countdown”, the first ever live virtual TED conference, entirely devoted to highlighting and accelerating solutions to climate change.
In particular, the royal discussed his new environmental award, the Earthshot Prize. Handed out to five groups each year, for the next ten years, to those finding evidence-based solutions to the climate change issues facing the globe.
“Growing up in my family gives you a certain sense of history. I’m simply the latest in a line that can be traced back generations,” William began, in a video recorded by an oak tree on the grounds at Windsor Castle.
“This oak tree is close to Windsor Castle, which has been home to my family for over 900 years. 39 monarchs have lived here and enjoyed these beautiful surroundings,” the continued. “I’ve walked here many times myself and it always amazes me that some of the trees planted here – living organisms dependent on soil, rain and sunlight – were here as they laid the first stones of Windsor Castle. That makes some of the oaks here almost a thousand years old.”
He went on to say, “This oak has stood here for centuries. But never has it faced a decade like this. We start this new decade knowing that it is the most consequential period in history. The science is irrefutable. If we do not act in this decade, the damage that we have done will be irreversible and the effects felt not just by future generations, but by all of us alive today.”
Talking about being inspired by John F. Kennedy’s vision in 1961 to put human beings on the Moon before the decade was out, William shared his similar vision for the climate crisis.
“But now, rather than a moonshot for this decade – we need Earthshots,” he explained. “We must harness that same spirit of human ingenuity and purpose and turn it with laser sharp focus and urgency on the most pressing challenge we have ever faced – repairing our planet.
“The shared goals for our generation are clear. Together we must protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world and fix our climate,” he continued. “And we must strive to do all of this in a decade.”
He added, “If we achieve these goals, by 2030 our lives won’t be worse, and we won’t have to sacrifice everything we enjoy. Instead, the way we live will be healthier, cleaner, smarter and better for all of us.”
After noting the global effort to combat the CCOVID-19 pandemic, William explained that a similar effort could be made to successfully stem the time of climate change.
“I’m committed to using the unique position that I have to help set those Earthshot goals and reward people, across every sector of society and in every part of the world, who do their bit to help achieve them,” he said.
“Some people are motivated to act by a crisis,” he went on. “But for many, the incentive to act only comes when they believe that change is possible. That it isn’t a lost cause. If people really believe that these challenges – these Earthshots – are possible, just imagine all the potential we will unleash!”
William concluded, “Whilst our generation represents just a blip in the lifetime of these magnificent oaks, we have the power and potential to ensure that they, and all life on earth, thrive for another thousand years and more. But only if we now unleash the greatest talents of our generation to repair our planet. We have no choice but to succeed.”
Along with the Duke, the TED “Countdown” event is also set to feature addresses and appearances by celebrities like Jane Fonda, Priyanka Chopra, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jaden Smith, Al Gore and many more.