Scientists who developed a cleaner and more sustainable way to make batteries for electric cars were among the winners of this year’s Prince of Wales’s £1m Earthshot prizes.
The awards, announced at a ceremony in Singapore on Tuesday, are aimed at rewarding innovative solutions to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies.
Speaking at the event, named after the former US president John F Kennedy’s Moonshot challenge in the 1960s, the prince said “hope does remain” even as the effects of the climate crisis become “too visible to be ignored”. The prince was wearing a blazer by Alexander McQueen that has been part of his wardrobe for 10 years. He previously wore it for the inaugural Earthshot awards in 2021.
“The last year has been one of great change and even greater challenge,” he said. “A year that has left so many feeling defeated, their hope dwindling. However, as we have seen tonight, hope does remain.”
Future generations, said the prince, would “look back on this decade as the point at which we globally took collective action for our planet … The moment we refused to accept the voices of denial and defeatism, and instead became the architects of change towards a healthy and sustainable world.
“We owe it to the generations that will follow us to work together both for their future, and for the future of our planet. It is my belief that we will find the courage to do so. We will find the courage because we will hold on to the most powerful motivators of all – optimism and hope.”
The five winning projects, which each received a £1m prize, were:
GRST’s project to build and recycle lithium-ion batteries in a cleaner and more sustainable way.
WildAid Marine programme’s initiative to bring together governments, scientists and campaigners to tackle illegal fishing and strengthen ocean conservation.
S4S Technologies’ scheme to develop solar-powered dryers and processing equipment to enable small-hold farmers to preserve crops and turn what would have been waste into valuable products.
Boomitra’s project with 150,000 farmers in some of the poorest parts of Africa, South America and Asia to reduce emissions and boost profits by incentivising land restoration through a verified carbon credit marketplace.
Accion Andina, a project that unites tens of thousands of people in local and Indigenous communities in the Andes mountain range to protect and restore the native forests and ecosystems.
The winners were selected by the prince and the Earthshot Prize Council, which was chaired by Christiana Figueres, one of the architects of the climate agreement signed in Paris in 2015.
The organisers said all five winners plus 10 other finalists would receive mentorship, resources, and technical support from the Earthshot Prize fellowship, a year-long programme to accelerate the growth of their projects.
Sir David Attenborough, a member of the Earthshot Prize Council, appeared by video during the ceremony, telling the audience “we can live both well and responsibly on our planet”.
He added: “Tonight, we celebrate those who are leading the way to this better future.”
Source : The Guardian