Prince William announces 15 finalists of his ambitious Earthshot Prize

Kate Ng
Friday 17 September 2021 16:35
Prince William announces first ever Earthshot Prize finalists

The Duke of Cambridge has announced the inaugural 15 finalists of his ambitious Earthshot Prize.

Prince William revealed the finalists’ names on his project’s YouTube channel on Friday.

Among the finalists are a teenager from India who has designed a solar-powered ironing cart, the nation of Costa Rica, which has pioneered a project paying local citizens to restore natural ecosystems, and a Chinese app that allows its citizens to hold polluters to account.

There are no UK finalists but organisers believe homegrown talent will feature in the environmental award in future years.

In the video, William said: “The ambition, quality and range of submissions has been amazing, and should fill us all with optimism and hope that our goals for this decisive decade are achievable.”

The Earthshot prizes have been separated into five different categories.

The nation of Costa Rica has been nominated under the category to “protect and restore nature”.

Vinisha Umashankar, the 14-year-old from behind the solar-powered ironing cart, is a finalist for the prize to “clean our air”.

Coral Vita, a project in the Bahamas aiming to restore the world’s coral reefs, has been nominated under the “revive our oceans” category.

An Italy-based project which aims to cut food waste and tackle hunger, The City of Milan Food Waste Hub, has been nominated for the “build a waste-free world” prize.

The final category is “fix our climate”. Solbazaar, an initiative in Bangladesh that has created a system that allows people to trade excess solar energy is one of the finalists.

Five winners, one from each category, will be announced at a ceremony on 17 October. Each of them will receive a grant worth £1 million.

Additionally, 14 global companies including Microsoft, Unilever, Ikea and Walmart have agreed to support the winners with their ideas.

“When we launched the prize last year, our ambition was to find the most innovative solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges,” William said the video.

In the introduction for the official book, Earthshot: How To Save Our Planet, William said the prize was inspired by the Apollo moon landings.

“I wanted to recapture Kennedy’s Moonshot spirit of human ingenuity, purpose and optimism, and turn it with laser-sharp focus and urgency on to the most pressing challenge of our time – repairing our planet,” he writes.

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