Prince William’s prestigious Earthshot Prize was bagged by five winners on Friday. Every winner will receive $1.2m to enhance their innovation.
The awards are annual in nature and were created by the Prince of Wales to finance projects that are aimed to preserve the environment. The winners were announced at a ceremony in Boston, US.
Hoping for a change through such innovations, Prince William said, “I believe that the Earthshot solutions you have seen this evening prove we can overcome our planet’s greatest challenges. By supporting and scaling them we can change our future.”
The winners are based in Kenya, India, Australia, the UK, and Oman.
Among the five winners are two childhood friends from Oman who innovated rock made of carbon dioxide.
This year is the second term of the Earthshot Prizes as the first was held in 2021. The prize got its name from “Moonshot” which was the ambition of former President John F Kennedy in the 1960s who vowed to have an American land on the moon within a decade.
Up until 2030, five £1 million ($1.2 million) Earthshot Prizes will be given out in support of future environmental innovation projects. On December 5, nominations for the 2023 award become available.
The winners for this year’s awards were selected from 15 finalists by a panel that includes Prince William, Sir David Attenborough, actress Cate Blanchett, footballer Dani Alves, Fijian activist Ernest Gibson, and singer Shakira.
The winners received awards from Prince William and Princess Catherine. The ceremony was star-studded with celebrities like Ellie Goulding, Annie Lennox, Billie Eilish, David Beckham, and Chloe x Halle among the attendees.
Winner: Mukuru Clean Stoves, Kenya
Project: Clean Our Air
Story: Mukuru Clean Stoves is a Kenya-based women-founded business that has a majority of female staff. They make stoves that are fired by processed biomass made from charcoal, wood, and sugarcane in the place of solid fuels, which produce air pollution and accidents that claim four million lives each year, the Earthshot Prize said.
Winner: Kheyti, India
Project: Protect and Restore Nature
Story: In India, a nation that has been badly hit by climate change, Kaushik Kappagantulu’s Greenhouse-in-a-Box aids small-hold farmers in protecting their crops from harsh weather and pests.
Winner: Notpla, United Kingdom
Project: Build a Waste-free World
Story: The UK’s Pierre Paslier and Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, who succeeded in making natural, biodegradable plastic from seaweed, were also recognized for their waste-free approach. This year, the business produced more than a million takeout meal boxes for the Just Eat food delivery service. Read more about the UK winner here.
Project: Revive Our Oceans
Story: Over 60 women have received training in traditional and modern methods of ocean conservation through a program that was designed for the Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Winner: 44.01, Talal Hasan
Project: Fix Our Climate
Story: Project 44., based in Oman, aims to convert carbon dioxide into peridotite, a rock that is widely distributed around the world, including the US, Europe, and Asia. In contrast to conventional techniques of storing carbon, which include burying it underground in defunct oil wells, it provides a low-cost and secure substitute.
Talal Hasan, founder of 44.01 said, “Winning the Earthshot Prize will help us scale our solution around the world, and ultimately eliminate billions of tonnes of CO2. Climate change is the greatest challenge we have ever faced but being part of this amazing group of finalists gives us hope.”
When the project began eight years ago in a dorm room kitchen, Notpla co-founder Pierre Paslier stated, “we would have never guessed we would be here today.”