Prince William and Kate Middleton Announce Inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards Winners, Tease 2022 Event in U.S.
William, 39, announced on Sunday that his next Earthshot Prize ceremony will be in the United States.
While Kensington Palace would not be drawn on the couple's travel plans, further details will be announced in due course, a spokesperson said. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were last in New York in 2014. And Kate, 39, may have already given a hint of the plans when she wore a dress on Sunday made famous in Los Angeles on the couple's first visit to the U.S. in 2011 to the event.
William's announcement came at the end of the inaugural awards show in London on Sunday. Referring to his inspiration for the Prize – Kennedy's shooting for the moon in the 1960s – he said, "I hope you agree that London and the U.K. has put on quite a show for our first year. So, for the second year, we need to pass the baton to a country whose leadership is essential for all five of our Earthshots. Where better than the nation that inspired the Moonshot all those years ago. I'm delighted to announce that the Earthshot Prize will be heading to the United States of America in 2022."
The prince – looking dapper in a green velvet tuxedo – also had a message of optimism for "all the young people watching tonight." "For too long, we haven't done enough to protect the planet for your future. The Earthshot is for you. In the next ten years we are going to act, we are going to find the solutions to repair our planet," he shared. "Please keep learning, keep demanding change, and don't give up hope. We will rise to these challenges."
William's address came after his wife Kate handed out the last of the five awards – under the Protect and Restore Nature category. Introducing the segment, the mother-of-three spoke about how nature was important for us all and her concern for the next generation of children. "Nature is vital to us all. A thriving natural world regulates our climate, nurtures our physical and mental health, and helps feed our families,' she told the 100-strong audience.
"But for too long, we've neglected our wild spaces and now we're facing a number of tipping points. If we don't act now, we will permanently destabilize our planet and we will rob our children of the future they deserve. Our Earthshot Prize finalists show us, however, that we can by 2030 see the natural world growing, not shrinking, for the first time in centuries," Kate continued.
Announcing the winner, the Republic of Costa Rica (which like the other winners will receive $1.4 million to scale up their projects), she said that country had showed "that deforestation can be turned around whilst growing your economy." Accepting it, President Carlos Quesada said, "We acknowledge that major conservation is a shared value. We accept this recognition with pride but humility. What we have achieved in this small country in central America can be done anywhere. We will continue recognizing nature as our most valuable asset advancing towards a carbon neutral in a nature positive world."
Moments earlier, co-host Clara Amfo said they'd asked Prince William to "pull a few strings" and ask Kate to present an award. Introducing the Duchess of Cambridge, fellow co-host Dermot O'Leary joked, "Thankfully he came up trumps – though I doubt this is what she had in mind when he mentioned date night."
There was more good news for the U.S., as Americans Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern, from Coral Vita, which helps restore coral by growing it much faster than in the wild, were awarded the Prize in their category, Revive Our Oceans.
Teicher said, "This is an idea Gator and I had while in grad school and with the Earthshot Prize will now be able to launch massive coral farms in every nation with reefs around the world and kick start a restoration economy. But our job shouldn't exist. The best thing to do for reefs is to stop killing them."
Emma Watson gave out the award called Fix Our Climate. "I've spent much of my working life acting in fictional make-believe worlds where the impossible can be made possible. Now, we need to the same thing for climate change here in the real world," she said. "There have been many other times in history when it's been said something couldn't be done, and then people believed in a better world and made it so. This time is no different, I know that we can."
The winners were AEM Electrolyser, an ingenious green hydrogen technology, which doesn't use fossil fuels to create the gas, that can transform how we power our homes, transport and buildings.
The winners of the Clean Our Air category were Takachar -- a pioneering technology to create profitable products from agricultural waste and put a stop to the burning of crops.
Emma Thompson gave the award for Build a Waste Free World. "We thrive and prosper by using what is to hand – what may even have been overlooked, tossed out. Waste does not make us happy. Humans are not designed to waste their resources. More of us are going to have to go back to making do and mending and it will make us happy. The state of things at the moment is wildly unbalanced and out of kilter," she stated. "But there is hope and there are many reasons to be positive because our finalists are facing this head on."
The City of Milan won for its initiatives to halt food waste.
The ceremony began with an address from the international space station and the entertainment started with Coldplay performing "My Universe," featuring BTS – in a unique environmentally-friendly show. The band – performing in a segment filmed on Monday night -- was powered by 60 cyclists generating the electricity needed for the performance.
And, inside the ceremony, Ed Sheeran played "Visiting Hours," while Shawn Mendes closed the show's entertainment.
On the green carpet, on the way into the ceremony, Clara Amfo, who starred with William in a teaser video shot at Kensington Palace, talked about his thespian talents. "He's quite the actor," she said on the green carpet. "We took quite a few takes. I'd say he took considerably less. He was very sweet with it."
Her fellow cohost O'Leary told reporters, "He's so disarming and I think that's a projection of how he wants his role to develop. He's there and born into and is doing an incredible job. It's very easy for him not to stick his head above the parapet but he is doing that."
The Earthshot Prize Ceremony can be viewed on discovery+. William's five films in the Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet series are also on discovery+