"Over my Grandmother's lifetime, the last 90 years or so, our impact has accelerated so fast that our climate, oceans, air, nature and all that depends on them are in peril," the Duke of Cambridge said


Welcome to Prince William’s TED Talk!

The royal took part in his first-ever TED Talk on Saturday during Countdown — TED's first free and virtual conference devoted entirely to tackling global warming.

Speaking outside from Windsor, near Queen Elizabeth’s royal residence, William, 38, said, “Growing up in my family gives you a certain sense of history. I’m simply the latest in a line that can be traced back generations. This oak tree is close to Windsor Castle, which has been home to my family for over 900 years. Thirty-nine monarchs have lived here and enjoyed these beautiful surroundings.”

“While these oaks have been growing, around 35 billion people have lived their lives on our planet. That’s 35 billion lifetimes worth of hope, love, fear and dreams,” he continued.

“Over my Grandmother’s lifetime, the last 90 years or so, our impact has accelerated so fast that our climate, oceans, air, nature and all that depends on them are in peril,” he said.

Prince William Ted Talk
Prince William
| Credit: Countdown

He went on to describe the lasting effects of global warming.

“This oak has stood here for centuries. But never has it faced a decade like this. We start this new decade knowing that it is the most consequential period in history,” he said. “The science is irrefutable. If we do not act in this decade, the damage that we have done will be irreversible and the effects felt not just by future generations, but by all of us alive today.”

William then discussed his Earthshot Prize — his ambitious program will see five awards of $1.3 million given each year, promoting at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental issues before 2030.

“I’ve long been inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 mission to put a man on the moon within a decade – he named it the moonshot. It seemed crazy. We had only just launched the first satellite. Putting a man on the moon, that quickly, seemed impossible,” he said.

Prince William wildlife
Prince William
| Credit: Oxford Film/ ITC

“But now, rather than a moonshot for this decade - we need Earthshots. We must harness that same spirit of human ingenuity and purpose and turn it with laser-sharp focus and urgency on the most pressing challenge we have ever faced – repairing our planet,” he said.

In conclusion, William said, “I’m determined to both start and end this decade as an optimist. Whilst our generation represents just a blip in the lifetime of these magnificent oaks, we have the power and potential to ensure that they, and all life on earth, thrive for another thousand years and more.

“But only if we now unleash the greatest talents of our generation to repair our planet. We have no choice but to succeed.”

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On Saturday, William was joined by Al Gore, Jaden Smith, Chris Hemsworth, Jane Fonda, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle and more for the virtual conference. The star-studded panel discussed how the world can tackle global warming and ensure a better future for the planet.