Prince William rounded off a three-day visit to Boston by meeting with US president Joe Biden to share his vision for safeguarding the environment. Before he attended a gala event Friday evening, where he sounded an optimistic tone about solving the world’s environmental problems through “hope, optimism and urgency.”
The Prince of Wales paid homage to the late President John F. Kennedy. He said his Earthshot Prize was inspired by Kennedy’s audacious moonshot speech in 1962, that mobilised the nation to put astronauts on the moon.
"That same sense of urgency and scale is needed now to protect the environment," William said.
“In the same way the space effort six decades ago created jobs, boosted economies and provided hope, so too can the solutions borne of tonight’s Earthshot Prize winners."
The second annual Earthshot Prize offered £1 million [€1.2 million] in prize money to each of the winners in five separate categories: Nature protection, clean air, ocean revival, waste elimination and climate change. The winners and all 15 finalists will receive help in expanding their projects to meet global demand.
The winners, announced at Boston’s MGM Music Hall, were:
- A female-founded startup that’s providing cleaner-burning biomass stoves in Africa
- A United Kingdom company making biodegradable packaging from seaweed
- A “greenhouse-in-a-box” concept created to increase yields on small farms in India
- A technique for transforming atmospheric carbon into rock in Oman in the Middle East
- A woman-led effort to create a new generation of indigenous rangers in Australia.
Providing the star power for the glitzy show were Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and Chloe x Halle live in Boston, and Billie Eilish performing remotely. The event also featured videos narrated by naturalist David Attenborough and actor Cate Blanchett. Prizes were presented by actor Rami Malek, comedian Catherine O’Hara and actor and activist Shailene Woodley.
The entertainers were eager to help.
“It’s the greatest crisis of our lifetime, and I appreciate what Prince William is doing,” Malek said before heading into the venue. “And in the next 10 years, I think the impact will be staggering. And we can really effect change in the greatest way with these innovators who are being awarded this evening.”
Before the event, William met privately for 30 minutes with Biden after the two shook hands and spoke briefly in the cold near the water outside of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum. As William walked down the steps in his suit, Biden, wearing a black winter coat, shouted: “Where’s your topcoat?”
William is following in the footsteps of his environmentally-minded grandfather Prince Philip — the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II — and more recently his father and Elizabeth’s successor, King Charles III.