The Earthshot Prize is an award that five finalists will receive between 2021 and 2030 for developing solutions to fight climate crisis. Established in 2020, 2021 will be the first year when awards will be handed out to finalists for their contributions towards the five UN Sustainable Development Goals -- restoration and protection of nature, air cleanliness, ocean revival, waste-free living and climate action.
The awards were established by UK’s Prince William and famed natural historian David Attenborough in 2020.
What are the prizes about?
Inspired by former US President John F Kennedy’s Moonshot -- when the president had set a goal of reaching the Moon in less than a decade -- the Earthshot Prize hopes to encourage and support the development of solutions for Earth’s environmental problems.
Five individuals or organisations that have come up with impactful solutions to problems plaguing the planet will be awarded one million euros. Each year five winners will be selected, one for each of the UN SDG goal categories, with a total of 50 million euros being awarded by 2030.
The winners will be chosen from 15 finalists, three for each category, by the Earthshot Prize Council. The council comprises global spokespersons who are striving to bring impactful action in various capabilities.
The council includes Prince William, David Attenborough, Jordan’s Queen Rania, actor Cate Blanchett, former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, footballer Dani Alves, environmental activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, corporate figures Indra Nooyi, Jack Ma, former astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, singer Shakira, basketball legend Yao Ming, climate activists Luisa Neubauer and Ernest Gibson, and Michael Bloomberg as a global advisor. Hannah Jones, the former chief sustainability officer for Nike, was announced as the programme's CEO as well.
In order to ensure that solutions are implemented in a real-world use case, the organisation has partnered with several global organisations to scale up the solutions provided by the first 15 finalists.
Companies like Arup, Bloomberg LP, Deloitte, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hitachi, the INGKA Group, Microsoft, MultiChoice, Natura & Co, Safaricom, Salesforce, Unilever, Vodacom, and Walmart make up the Earthshot Global Alliance that will be involved in scaling up the solutions.
Aga Khan Development Network, Bloomberg Philanthropies, DP World in partnership with Dubai Expo 2020, the Jack Ma Foundation, Marc and Lynne Benioff, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the WWF, the Green Belt Movement, Greenpeace, and Conservation International are some of the organisations and philanthropic institutes that are helping to fund the prizes.
The first awards
The inaugural award ceremony will take place on October 17, at Alexandra Place, London, UK. The event is expected to be a star-studded ceremony to bring more attention to the problems, solutions and finalists themselves. The awards have been meticulously planned to be completely carbon neutral. The hosts of the event are broadcasters Clara Amfo and Dermot O'Leary.
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge; actors Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, David Oyelowo and footballer Mohamed Salah are some of the celebrities expected to present the prizes and Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, KSI and Yemi Alade, and Shawn Mendes are the musical artists expected to perform there as well. The ceremony will be broadcast on Discovery+ and BBC One. The event has been dubbed the ‘Eco Oscars’ for its line-up and message.
Among the finalists are Vinisha Umashankar, a 14-year-old schoolgirl from Tamil Nadu who is being recognised for "design(ing) a solar-powered ironing cart with the potential to improve air quality across India” and Takachar, a social enterprise who was selected for engineering "technology to create profitable products from agricultural waste and put a stop to the burning of crops."
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)