Five pioneering winners have been awarded the Earthshot Prize for their ground-breaking solutions to the greatest environmental challenges facing our planet.
The prestigious environmental Earthshot Prize, launched by Prince William through his Royal Foundation charity, has gifted £1million in prize money and access to a global network of professional and technical support to help get the five projects off the ground and accelerate their global impact.
To mark the occasion, the global awards ceremony was held at London’s Alexandra Palace, where the 15 finalists of over 750 applications from all over the world, were celebrated for their ideas to repair and protect our planet.
The Earthshot Prize categories and winners for 2021:
Protect and Restore Nature: The Republic of Costa Rica
Clean our Air: Takachar, India
Revive our Oceans: Coral Vita, Bahamas
Build a Waste-free World: The City of Milan, Italy
Fix our Climate: AEM Electrolyser, Thailand/Germany/Italy
The five winners were selected by The Earthshot Prize Council and “assessed on their potential to create game-changing impact around the world” and “positively impact people, communities, and the natural world”.
The projects span from India, where agricultural waste is turned into fuel rather than burned, to Costa Rica where people are paid to restore the rainforest and reverse deforestation. In the Bahamas a breakthrough in coral farming can restore the world’s dying coral reefs, and in the city of Milan a city-wide initiative is dramatically cutting waste while tackling hunger. Using innovative green hydrogen technology, the AEM Electrolyser (Thailand/Germany/Italy) will significantly cut fossil-fuel use in the next 10 years.
Each prize winner was awarded a one-of-a-kind ‘Precious Matter’ medal, designed by Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma. Her inspiration came from the iconic photograph of Earth that was taken by astronaut Major General William Anders on December 24, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission.
Each award is cast in recycled brass by the Royal Dutch Mint and depicts a slightly different rotation of the Earth’s surface. There will be 50 awards in total, combining to create the full Earth, as The Earthshot Prize Council will award The Earthshot Prize to five winners every year from now until 2030.
Well-loved environmentalist Sir David Attenborough was one of The Earthshot Prize Council Members, and with his voice of reason he spoke of the urgency and need for us all to take action if we are to save our planet.
“The natural world on which we entirely depend is declining at a rate faster than at any time since the end of the dinosaurs. We know where this story is heading and we must now write a different ending. This is what The Earthshot Prize was created to achieve. The 15 Earthshot Prize Finalists tonight build optimism by finding innovative and brilliant solutions to the world’s challenges, and they give us hope, which, we are told, springs eternal,” he said.
Other members of The Earthshot Prize Council included His Royal Highness Prince William; actor, producer and humanitarian Cate Blanchett; community activist Ernest Gibson, and climate justice activist Luisa Neubauer, amongst many more.
Following on from this inaugural ceremony, it has been announced that the Earthshot Prize will travel to the United States of America in 2022. Nominations for the 2022 Prize will open in January 2022.
Learn more about the Prize and the winners of the inaugural awards.
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