Prince William announced the first 15 finalists in his £50 million global Earthshot Prize, which was first announced in November 2020, on Friday.
The Duke of Cambridge is on a mission to help repair the planet over the next 10 years, with the first finalists announced including leaders, activists, innovators, a city and even an entire country.
Five winners will be selected by The Earthshot Prize Council and will receive £1 million in prize money at the inaugural ceremony on Oct. 17 in London, broadcast by the BBC and Discovery globally.
The finalists, from 14 countries, were chosen from 750 nominations.
Prince William said: “Over half a century ago, President Kennedy’s Moonshot programme united millions of people around the goal of reaching the moon. Inspired by this, The Earthshot prize aims to mobilise collective action around our unique ability to innovate, problem solve and repair our planet.
“I am honoured to introduce the 15 innovators, leaders and visionaries who are the first ever finalists for the Earthshot prize. They are working with the urgency required in this decisive decade for life on Earth and will inspire all of us with their optimism in our ability to rise to the greatest challenges in human history.”
The Prize “is an urgent call to action to the world and aims to turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism, by championing inspiring leadership and helping to scale incredible cutting-edge solutions. It will discover 50 winners over 10 years with the power to repair the planet.”
In my introduction to the ‘Earthshot: How to Save our Planet’ book, I wanted to share the early conversations in 2018 that led to the Prize’s creation & the simple equation that captures my theory behind @EarthshotPrize: Urgency + Optimism = Action
Available 30th September pic.twitter.com/FEy6W7V8LI
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) September 17, 2021
The finalists in each of the five specified categories are as follows:
Protect and restore nature category: the Pole Pole Foundation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a community-led model of conservation that protects gorillas and local livelihoods; the Republic of Costa Rica for a pioneering scheme paying local people to help revive the rainforest: Restor, Switzerland, an online conservation platform connecting and empowering local conservation projects.
Clean our air category: the Blue Map app, China, the country’s first public environmental database enabling citizens to hold polluters to account; Takachar, India, which creates products from agricultural waste; Vinisha Umashankar, India, a 14-year-old activist who has designed a solar-powered steam-ironing cart with the potential to improve air quality across her country.
Revive our oceans category: Coral Vita, Bahamas, for helping to restore dying coral reefs; Living Seawalls, Australia, for helping bring marine life back to coastal sea defences: Pristine Seas, US, a global conservation programme protecting 6.5 million square km of the world’s ocean.
Build a waste-free world category: the city of Milan food waste hubs; Sanergy, Kenya, for converting human waste into safe products for local farmers; Wota Box, Japan, water treatment plant that turns 98 per cent of wastewater into clean water.
Fix our climate category: AEM Electrolyser, Thailand, Germany and Italy, for developing green hydrogen technology to transform how people power their homes and buildings; Reeddi Capsules, Nigeria, bringing affordable electricity to energy-poor communities; Solbazaar, Bangladesh, peer-to-peer energy exchange network in a country on the front-line of climate change.
Of these 15 finalists, the five winners will be selected by The Earthshot Prize Council, a diverse team of influential individuals which includes: HRH Prince William, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Sir David Attenborough, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Indra Nooyi, Shakira Mebarak, Christiana Figueres, Luisa Neubauer, Cate Blanchett, Yao Ming, Daniel Alves Da Silva, Ernest Gibson, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Jack Ma, and Naoko Yamazaki.
As well as the ceremony, a five-part series titled “The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet”, is also set to air on Discovery+ on Oct. 3.
The series will showcase “the five Earthshot challenges facing the planet as well as highlighting the work of the remarkable 15 Prize Finalists and their ground-breaking solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. It looks past the problems we face and onto the solutions spotlighting what we have to do to save our planet.”
“We are honoured to partner with The Royal Foundation and our friends at BBC to bring this important work to people around the world,” said Nancy Daniels, Chief Brand Officer, Discovery and Factual.
“The crisis facing our planet has only become even more urgent. It is crucial that we amplify these hopeful stories of innovation to preserve our natural world.”