SINGAPORE (AP) — Britain’s Prince William said Wednesday that he hopes to expand his Earthshot Prize program into a global movement to bolster environmental innovators and galvanize governments to be more engaged in green sectors so that climate change would be easier to tackle.
William said he foresees policy shifts in environmental protection when the program ends in 2030, and a more supportive domain for innovators. The Earthshot Prize was launched by his Royal Foundation charity in 2020 as a 10-year program offering 1 million pounds ($1.2 million) each to five winners every year who developed solutions for the planet’s environmental threats.
“We are going to go from being a prize to becoming a platform and becoming a movement,” the Prince of Wales told an Earthshot conference, a day after the five 2023 winners were named for efforts in conservation, air quality, oceans, waste, and climate change.
“Climate anxiety will no longer be something that the next generation fear,” he added. “We will have many more champions and role models to follow and people who can lead us in this transition. It will not be so daunting, time consuming or difficult, everything will become easier. That’s my version of 2030.”
The Earthshot Prize said Wednesday it set up a new online platform called Launchpad connect to all Earthshot finalists and nominees to support their funding needs. The platform now has profiles of 24 finalist and winner solutions, showcasing more than $500 million in funding needs. More will be added as the Earthshot receives over 1,000 nominations each year, out of which 15 finalists are picked.
William attended a star-studded ceremony on Tuesday night, the first in Asia, where an Indian maker of solar-powered dryers, a soil carbon marketplace and groups that work to make electric car batteries cleaner, restore Andean forests and deter illegal fishing were awarded the 2023 Earthshot Prize.
He has said solutions presented by all 15 finalists prove “hope does remain” as the devastating effects of climate change are felt across the world.
At the conference Wednesday, past prize recipients shared some of their experiences.
Kaushik Kappagantulu, CEO of Indian start-up Kheyti that won in 2022 for its “greenhouse-in-a-box” project, said Earthshot has given it credibility and opened doors for alliances with local authorities and farmers.
Its greenhouse is a cheaper solution that uses less water and boosts yields for smallholder farmers seeking to protect their crops from unpredictable weather and pests. From 1,000 farmers in one state using its greenhouse, it has since expanded to 3,000 farmers in six states, he said.
Brandon Ng, head of Hong Kong firm AMPD Enertainer that was a 2022 finalist, said his three-year-old company offers an all-electric battery energy storage system to power equipment used in construction sites to help cut reliance on fossil fuels.
Ng said half of all construction sites in Hong Kong now runs on its system and the company has expanded to Singapore, Australia, Britain, the United Arab Emirates and recently to the United States.
On Wednesday, his last day in Singapore, William visited the Center for Wildlife Forensics to see how the city is fighting poaching. During his four-day trip, his first to Singapore since 2011, the prince went dragon-boating and met Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.