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Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson Prince William will present his first environmental “Earthshot” award at a gala ceremony on Sunday, after a build-up marked by royal discontent over the inaction of world leaders in the face of change climate.
At the televised event – featuring famous naturalist David Attenborough and performances by Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and others – five international winners will each receive £ 1million ($ 1.4million, $ 1.2million euros).
William hopes the event will help propel the fight against climate change to the top of COP26 in Scotland, calling those on the shortlist “innovators, leaders and visionaries”.
“We can’t speak smarter, smarter words but not enough action (at COP26) and that is why the Earthshot award is so important, because we are trying to create action,” he said. he told the BBC.
“I hope the award will galvanize a lot of people in leadership positions to go further, bigger and really start delivering.”
Nominees include an Indian teenager who designed a solar-powered ironing cart, and Costa Rica, who is at the forefront of a project to pay people to restore natural ecosystems.
A food waste center in Milan, Italy, a coral replacement program in the Bahamas and a clean air app from China are also on the shortlist.
Each of the finalists, chosen by experts from among more than 750 applications, will benefit from the help of companies to develop their projects.
William also used his BBC interview to shoot wealthy space tourists, for overlooking issues closer to Earth, while his father and grandmother also weighed in on climate change this week.
Opening the Welsh legislature in Cardiff on Thursday, the 95-year-old monarch was heard berating world leaders who “talk” but “don’t” do enough about the planetary crisis.
The Queen complained that too few leaders had confirmed their attendance at COP26, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the main players in doubt.
– Double royal standard? –
William’s father, Prince Charles, a longtime environmentalist, meanwhile told the BBC he feared upcoming leaders “are just talking” rather than implementing “action on the ground. “.
Charles, whose Highgrove estate in the west of England has a fully organic garden and farm, also described some of his own actions to reduce his carbon footprint, including reducing his consumption of meat and fish.
In 2008, his office revealed he had converted an old Aston Martin car to run on biofuel made from surplus English white wine and whey from cheese making.
However, activists have alleged the climatic hypocrisy of the Royal Family, who are Britain’s largest landowner, including large swathes of Scotland devoted to hunting and farming.
Last weekend, TV presenter and environmentalist Chris Packham led a children’s march to Buckingham Palace in London to deliver a petition with more than 100,000 signatures calling on the Queen to rehabilitate the royal lands.
“If they were to do that, it would be a very powerful message that would resonate with people all over the world,” he said.
The Earthshot Prize, launched in October last year, was inspired by US President John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” project in the 1960s to send a man to the moon.
It covers five areas: how to protect and restore nature; purify our air; revive our oceans; build a world without waste; and fix our climate.
The shortlisted candidates are:
– Protect and restore nature:
Pole Pole Foundation (Democratic Republic of Congo)
– Clean Air:
The Blue Map app (China)
Vinisha Umashankar (India)
– Revive the oceans:
Vita Coral (Bahamas)
Virgin Seas (United States)
Living Seawalls (Australia)
– Building a world without waste:
Food waste centers in the city of Milan (Italy)
Wota Box (Japan)
– Fix our climate:
AEM electrolyser (Thailand / Germany / Italy)
Reeddi capsules (Nigeria)
© 2021 AFP