Prince William concluded a three-day visit to Boston by meeting US President Joe Biden to share his vision for saving the environment before attending a gala on Friday evening where he set an optimistic tone about the resolution global environmental issues through “hope, optimism and urgency.”
The Prince of Wales paid tribute to the late President John F. Kennedy, saying his Earthshot award was inspired by Kennedy’s bold speech in 1962, which mobilized the nation to send astronauts to the moon. That same sense of urgency and scale is needed now to protect the environment, William said.
“Just as the space effort of six decades ago created jobs, boosted economies and gave hope, so too have the solutions offered by tonight’s Earthshot Prize winners. “William said.
The second annual Earthshot Prize offered £1 million ($1.2 million) in prize money to each of the winners in five separate categories: nature conservation, clean air, revitalizing the oceans, eliminating waste and climate change. The winners and 15 runners-up will receive support to develop their projects to meet global demand.
The winners, announced at MGM Music Hall in Boston, were:
A woman-founded startup delivering cleaner-burning biomass stoves to Africa
A British company making biodegradable packaging from seaweed
A ‘greenhouse-in-a-box’ concept created to boost yields on smallholder 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.
Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and Chloe x Halle live in Boston, and Billie Eilish performs remotely. The event also featured videos narrated by naturalist David Attenborough and actress Cate Blanchett. The awards were presented by actor Rami Malek, comedian Catherine O’Hara and actress and activist Shailene Woodley.
The facilitators were eager to help.
“This is the biggest crisis of our lives, and I appreciate what Prince William is doing,” Malek said before heading into the room. “And over the next 10 years, I think the impact will be staggering. And we can really make change happen in the biggest way with these innovators who are being recognized tonight.”
Prior to the event, William met Biden privately for 30 minutes after the two shook hands and spoke briefly in the cold near the water outside the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum. . As William descended the steps in his suit, Biden, wearing a black winter coat, shouted, “Where’s your overcoat?”
William also met Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador to Australia and daughter of the late President. William visited the museum with Kennedy and told him that his father was “the man who inspired our mission”.
William and his wife, Kate, earlier attended a welcome Wednesday at City Hall and then a Boston Celtics game before the royal couple spent much of Thursday hearing about climate change threats and ongoing solutions.
William became heir apparent less than three months ago with the death of his grandmother, the Queen, but he has already been crowned Britain’s chief environmentalist. This was evident during the visit to Boston, which won praise for drawing attention to pollution and climate change and the need to scale up the solutions.
“I just appreciate that they’re using the platform and publicity to draw attention to meaningful climate work,” said Joe Christo, chief executive of Stone Living Lab, which researches nature-based approaches. for Climate Adaptation and was among those who met the royal couple in Port of Boston on Thursday.
“I know his dad is a great environmentalist,” he said. “He seems to be doing a great job of carrying on that legacy.”
William is following in the footsteps of his eco-conscious grandfather, Prince Philip, the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II, and more recently his father and Elizabeth’s successor, King Charles III.
William’s father, as a former prince, was for decades one of Britain’s most prominent environmental voices, tackling the ills of pollution. Last year he appeared before world leaders at a United Nations climate conference in Scotland and suggested that the threats posed by climate change and biodiversity loss were no different from those posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now that he is king, Charles is expected to be more careful with his words and to stay out of politics and government politics, in keeping with the traditions of the British constitutional monarchy. This year, he did not attend the UN climate conference, held in Egypt.
Prudence offers William the opportunity to take on this role as the royal family’s conservationist and to speak more forcefully about the issues once associated with his father.
There is no better example than the Earthshot Prize.
“This is a huge deal for Prince William,” said Joe Little, editor of Majesty Magazine. “He knows he can grab the attention of the most important people. That’s really the crux of the trip to Boston.”
William and Kate got a glimpse of some recent innovations at a green tech startup incubator called Greentown Labs in Somerville. Among them are autonomous solar-powered boats and low-carbon cement.
“Climate change is a global issue, so it’s so important that world leaders speak out about the importance of taking action,” said Lara Cottingham, vice president of strategic policy and climate impact for Greentown Labs.
The couple’s first trip to the United States since 2014 is part of the royal family’s effort to change its international image. After Elizabeth’s death, Charles made it clear that it would be a lean monarchy, with less pomp and ceremony than its predecessors. William and Kate arrived in Boston on a commercial British Airways flight.
Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report in Boston.
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