Find Out Which American Icon Has Inspired Prince William Since He Was a Boy

Prince William is taking a cue from a bold, ambitious former U.S. president in his mission to "harness the spirit of human ingenuity and purpose" to repair the planet's most consequential problems

Prince William
Prince WIlliam. Photo: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

Prince William shared the innovative inspiration behind his own Earthshot initiative: President John F. Kennedy.

Since the prince was a boy, the iconic American president has been a subject of fascination thanks to Kennedy's historically bold Moonshot mission to send a man to space in record time.

"Humans have an extraordinary capacity to set goals and strive to achieve them," William shared in a TED Talk released Monday as part of a countdown to his Earthshot Prize ceremony in October.

"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'd only just launched the first satellite. Putting a man on the moon that quickly seemed impossible," said William, 39.

But Kennedy inspired people "to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. In taking that giant leap for mankind, the team behind the Moonshot united millions of people around the world — that this crazy ambition wasn't so crazy after all."

John F. Kennedy. Bettmann/ Getty

According to the Duke of Cambridge, this kind of ambition continues to be critical as we "start this new decade knowing that it is the most consequential period in history."

He continued, "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. And what's more, this damage will not be felt equally by everyone. It is the most vulnerable, those with the fewest resources and those who've done the least to cause climate change who will be impacted the most."

And so the prince is hoping to do his part by spearheading Earthshot, which seeks to find new solutions to the issues facing the planet. According to William's TED Talk today, through "a set of ambitious objectives for the planet, the Earthshot goals seek to protect and restore nature, clean the air, revive oceans, build a waste-free world and fix the climate — all in the next decade."

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Prince William</a> announces details of inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards
Prince William looking out over London from Alexandra Palace. Kensington Palace

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Like his father, Prince Charles, William has long been outspoken about environmental issues.

And on Monday, he urged, "We must harness the spirit of human ingenuity and purpose on and turn it with laser-sharp focus and urgency on the most pressing challenge we have ever faced: Repairing our planet."

On October 17, recipients of the first-ever Earthshot prize will each receive about $1.4 million (£1 million) at a ceremony attended by William at London's Alexandra Palace.

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