Prince William, 38, has been interviewed alongside Sir David Attenborough by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about his new environmental Earthshot Prize. But BBC presenter Nick Robinson noted: “You’ll know only too well that your father was occasionally criticised for either being dotty or for lecturing people or for making proposals other people didn’t like.” Speaking to the programme, William said: “I think the dotty person now would be the person who doesn’t believe in climate change.”
Sir David added: “I think that sums it up.
“In my time, there has been a huge change.
“Suddenly we actually see the writing on the wall. Suddenly we can actually see coral reef dying. Suddenly we can see that forests are disappearing.
“Suddenly there are real dangers that there may be a tipping point in which the icecaps of the North Pole begin to melt – which it’s doing already.
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“People can see it’s happening and it’s a matter of great urgency now,” he said on the Today programme.
William also revealed that the broadcaster and naturalist’s documentaries are a firm favourite with his young children: “It’s amazing – at bedtime when I can corral the children, I just shout, ‘we going to watch one of David’s documentaries’ and they come herding in. It’s the easiest way to catch my children and get them ready for bedtime.”
The Duke of Cambridge says there are just 10 years “to fundamentally fix our planet” and expressed hope his environmental Earthshot Prize will “drive a decade of change”.
William sees his ambitious project as a means to turnaround pessimism in the planet’s future with global recognition and £50 million in prize money for ideas and technologies that safeguard the environment.
The Duke told Sky News: “According to the experts, it really is the point of no return. We have 10 years to fundamentally fix our planet.”
It is likely to be seen as William’s career-defining project, like his father’s Prince’s Trust or grandfather’s Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, and reflects his growing confidence.
William told Sky News: “This is me putting my stamp on what I can do in my position to really galvanise and increase the interest and tackle some of these issues and drive a decade of change to help repair the planet.”
He said the same resources used to tackle coronavirus should be devoted to saving the natural world, saying: “We found over £190 billion to fix and help the recovery through Covid. We can do the same for the environment.”
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And he was prepared to go to places that felt “uncomfortable” or made others feel the same to “make a difference”.
Every year from 2021 until the end of the decade, winners in five categories will each receive £1 million after being picked by a judging panel of William and leading figures.
Speaking about the project created with his Royal Foundation, William said: “We very much felt that an optimistic prize, to try and turn the narrative around the pessimism and the negativity around the climate was the best way forward to try and find some solutions.
“I think, with all things in life, if you are willing to make a difference you have to put yourself out there, and you have to commit yourself and be determined and maybe go (to) places that you might feel uncomfortable, other people might feel uncomfortable, but really for me the prize is about bringing people together.”
The Earthshot Prize takes its inspiration from the Apollo moon landings, nicknamed Moonshot, which helped advance mankind’s technological achievements, and features five Earthshots which organisers say if achieved by 2030 would improve life for all.