In a series to mark the launch of the £50million Earthshot Prize to encourage technological solutions to “repair our planet” in the next 10 years, the Duke of Cambridge spoke about the conversations that he and his family had about the biggest environmental challenges facing Earth. Asked on Radio 4’s Today programme if he ever wondered what Prince Charles was banging on about, William, 38, said: “I regularly wonder what my father is banging on about. I’m sure every son thinks the same.”
But he added: “He’s talked about this for a long time and long before people sort of cottoned on to climate change. So, I’ve always listened to and learnt and believed in what he was saying.
“I think the dotty person now would be the person who doesn’t believe in climate change.”
His three children. Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, two, have become enthralled by Sir David’s documentaries about the planet.
William said: “It’s amazing at bedtime when I can corral the children. I just shout, ‘We’re 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.”
But he also admitted that his children had been badgering him to adopt a greener lifestyle to help the planet, and that the threat to the natural world has at times left George feeling despondent.
William told Sky News: “The most recent one – the extinction one – actually George and I had to turn it off, we got so sad about it halfway through. He said to me, ‘You know, I don’t want to watch this any more’.”
William said he worried about the effects, particularly on children and younger people, of constant messages of doom.
Instead he wants to spread positivity and encourage people to think we can find solutions that will allow us to maintain our lifestyles and save the planet.
Under the Earthshot Prize, every year from 2021 until the end of the decade, winners in five categories will each receive £1million for ideas or inventions that will halt the effects of irreversible climate change and other hazards facing Earth.
A team of experts will advise a 13-strong Prize Council, made up of famous faces designed to give the project global reach, on the choice of winners each year. Those on the Prize Council with William include actress Cate Blanchett, Brazilian football captain Dani Alves, singer Shakira and Queen Rania of Jordan.
Colombian singer Shakira said: “Your children, my children – they have to find ways to reduce carbon emissions, to repair our oceans, to clean the air.
“So we need young minds to be informed and invested, which is why education is so important.”
Cate said: “All around the world, science and community-based initiatives are leading to ground-breaking inventions and solutions which, if provided with the platform and resources to be implemented on a larger scale, could have a significant and positive impact on the environment and global economy.”
The project, which has a £50million prize fund provided by American, Chinese and Arab billionaires, hopes to encourage entries from individuals, businesses and even cities, who will put forward ideas and solutions to environmental problems.