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Prince William’s Earthshot Prize Awards Opens Space Race Debate Again

Hollywood stars arrived in recycled outfits as they joined Prince William and Kate Middleton for the first awards ceremony for William’s environmental prize.

The ceremony that was dubbed as the ‘eco-oscars’, made its way to the inaugural Earthshot Awards in Alexandra Palace in London on 17 October 2021. 

The Duke of Cambridge vowed to “find the solutions to repair our planet” as the first-ever winners of the Earthshot Prize were announced.

The Earthshot Prize is an award set up by Prince William and the Royal Foundation, the charity founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and historian David Attenborough. 

The aim was to honour five finalists between 2021 and 2030 for developing solutions to fight the climate crisis.

The event was attended by celebrities from all over the world who walked the green carpet. These included Dame Emma Thompson, Liverpool FC striker Mo Salah, Emma Watson, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Shawn Mendes and even social media influencers like KSI.

All the guests were requested not to buy any new outfits for the green carpet and naturally, all eyes fell to the Duchess of Cambridge. 

After the pair arrived at the event in an electric Audi eco-car Kate stole the show as she wore a distinguished Lilac gown by Alexander McQueen.

Emma Watson At EarthShot Prize

Prince William, on the other hand, wore a very stylish green velvet blazer accompanied by a black turtle neck – giving us a very 007 moment.

Two Astronauts, aboard the International Space Station, opened the show with live footage and David Attenborough, who knows more than most about global warming, made a motivational speech pointing out the issues at hand. 

During the event, a performance by Coldplay was powered by 60 cyclists who lit up the stage with colourful blasts of energy. 

Soon after, Prince William was joined on stage by Kate Middleton as he urged young people not to “give up hope” and to “keep demanding change” to tackle the climate crisis.

So far this particular event has been the Prince’s most ambitious project to date, pushing to save the planet, a cause inspired by both his father – Prince Charles and his grandfather Prince Phillip. 

The five winners were awarded £1 million each for their various causes. They were awarded to countries like India – where agricultural waste is turned into fuel rather than burned and Costa Rica- where people are paid to restore the rainforest and reverse deforestation. 

The city of Milan was also on the winning cards. They were handed a prize for its Food Waste Hubs program, which recovers food from supermarkets and restaurants and distributes it to those in need.

This is a decade long project that Prince William hopes will find a number of solutions to some of the planets biggest environmental problems. 

However, the event came days after the oldest person to enter space -Star Trek actor William Shatner made history in the up and coming space race. 

The 90-year-old blasted off from Texas on a Blue Origin rocket – the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The company aims to attract regular paying customers in the future and had its maiden space tourism flight on 20 July, when Bezos and three others flew to the edge of space.

Britain’s Prince William has criticized some of the world’s richest men for using their wealth to fund a new space race and space tourism rather than trying to fix the problems on Earth instead.

“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.” – Prince William

At a slick media event in Washington in May 2019, billionaire Jeff Bezos announced that his rocket company, Blue Origin, is developing a moon lander that could deliver cargo and astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024.

But going to the moon is just the beginning of his vision. What he really wants to do, Bezos declared, is find a new home in space for our species.

For near-term problems like poverty and pollution, he said, we need to find solutions close to home. “But there are also long-range problems, and we need to work on those, too,” he said. “They take a long time to solve. You can’t wait until the long-range problems are urgent to work on them.”

@TheNewYorkPost

In particular, Bezos worries that technological progress depends on an ever-growing supply of energy. Within a couple of centuries, he said, we’ll have outstripped any reasonable source of energy on Earth.

His solution? Move off the planet and into space colonies — enormous ones, and lots of them.

According to AP News, when asked whether Prince William would like to become a space tourist, William said “I have absolutely no interest in going that high.”

“I’ve been up to 65,000 feet once in a plane, that was truly terrifying,” said William, who served in the Royal Air Force as a helicopter pilot. “That’s high enough.”

Other billionaires are also competing in the space race, notably Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Twenty years ago, most people thought commercial space travel was little more than a pipe dream. It would have remained that way if Musk, Branson and Bezos had allowed today’s constraints to limit tomorrow’s goals. 

While all three have different end goals, their collective efforts have disrupted the traditional government-run and funded models for space exploration while paving the way for a new era of commercial space flight led by the private sector.

The race to space is now not only a competitive possibility but has become a global debate on whether to continue saving the planet we inhabit or use our sources to find new ways of living.

SEE MORE: WHAT’S NEXT IN THE SAGA OF THE BILLIONAIRE SPACE RACE?