On October 17, 2021, the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced the winners of the first annual Earthshot Prize given to those whose work has “a positive effect on environmental change.”
The Royal Foundation, led by Prince William and Duchess Kate, developed the prize to “have a positive effect on environmental change and improve living standards globally, particularly for communities who are most at risk from climate change.” It will be awarded annually until 2030.
The Earthshot Prize takes its name and inspiration from US President John F. Kennedy’s “moonshot” ambitions to land a human on Earth’s moon, calling each of its environmental targets an “earthshot.”
Each Earthshot Prize, valued at £1 million, can be awarded to “a wide range of individuals, teams or collaborations—scientists, activists, economists, community projects, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities, and countries—anyone whose workable solutions make a substantial contribution to achieving the Earthshots.”
As announced by the Foundation, the 2021 Earthshot Prize Winners for the five categories are:
Protect and Restore Nature: the Republic of Costa Rica, for successfully doubling the size of their forests through programs that paid local citizens to restore natural ecosystems.
Clean our Air: Takachar in India, for engineering a cheap and portable technology that captures agricultural waste from the field to turn into fuel, thus also reducing CO2 emissions from waste burning.
Revive our Oceans: Coral Vita in the Bahamas, for developing an innovative approach to coral farming that can help restore the world’s dying coral reefs faster than any traditional method.
Build a Waste-free World: City of Milan Food Waste Hubs in Italy, for a city-wide initiative that has dramatically cut food waste from supermarkets and cafeterias while tackling hunger.
Fix our Climate: AEM Electrolyser in Thailand, Germany, and Italy, for their green hydrogen technology that creates zero-emissions energy for all sectors.