Prince William launches environmental prize encouraging 'the planet's greatest problem solvers to solve Earth's greatest problems'

By Heather Cichowski

Prince William has some big plans for 2020 and the new decade, and he is calling on pioneering people to help make a difference for the planet with the launch of the Earthshot Prize.

On Dec. 31, the Duke of Cambridge took to the Kensington Royal Instagram to announce the new initiative with a video narrated by Sir David Attenborough. The post begins with a call to action: "Who is ready to lead as we make the 2020s a decade of action to repair our planet?"

The Earthshot Prize is described as "the most prestigious environment prize in history." It is led by Prince William and a global alliance in the hopes that it will inspire "the planet’s greatest problem solvers to solve Earth’s greatest problems: the emergencies facing our natural world."

In the video, Sir David describes the Earthshot Prize and describes how the 2020s can be used to turn things around for the planet. He discusses how humans have solved seemingly impossible tasks before, including putting a person on the Moon in just a decade, and how that success united the world.

MORE: Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry file to trademark their charitable foundation

"We are at a unique stage in our history," Sir David says in the full video from the Earthshot Prize's Instagram. "Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet and never before have we had the power to do something about that."

The Earthshot Prize is "designed to motivate and inspire a new generation of thinkers, leaders and dreamers to think differently." And the visionaries who receive it will be rewarded over the next decade.

Prince William, Sir David Attenborough, Prince Charles and Prince Harry attend the Our Planet global premiere at the Natural History Museum on April 4, 2019 in London. Photo: © Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

According to the Earthshot Prize website, a prize will go to five winners per year at annual awards ceremonies in different cities from 2020 to 2029. The hope is the winners' work will "provide at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest problems by 2030."

Prizes will look at progress across all sectors of industry and society. They could also be awarded to teams, a range of individuals or collaborations.

"Scientists, activists, economists, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities, and countries – anyone who is making a substantial development or outstanding contribution to solving our environmental challenges," are among those who could win, according to Earthshot Prize's website.

The duke followed up the compelling video with a new photo from his royal tour of Pakistan with Duchess Kate earlier this year. The picture of William was taken by Kate at a glacier in the Hindu Kush mountain range in the Chitral District of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkwa Province. On that trip, the future King made a passionate speech about climate change after visiting several communities that had been affected by severe flooding in the country's north and touring a vanishing glacier. The Duke of Cambridge used the image taken by Kate to promote the Earthshot Prize.

View this post on Instagram

"The earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve. • Remember the awe inspiring civilisations that we have built, the life-saving technology we have created, the fact that we have put a man on the moon. • People can achieve great things. And the next ten years present us with one of our greatest tests - a decade of action to repair the Earth.” • Led by Prince William and a global alliance, the @EarthshotPrize will inspire the the planet’s greatest problem solvers to solve Earth’s greatest problems: the emergencies facing our natural world. Take a look at our previous post to see the launch film, and follow @EarthshotPrize to stay updated. Photo  by The Duchess of Cambridge, taken at a glacier in the Hindu Kush mountain range, situated in the Chitral District of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkwa Province.

A post shared by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal) on

"The earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve," reads the caption.

It continues, "Remember the awe inspiring civilisations that we have built, the life-saving technology we have created, the fact that we have put a man on the moon.

"People can achieve great things. And the next ten years present us with one of our greatest tests - a decade of action to repair the Earth.”

Prince William, Duchess Kate and Sir David Attenborough at the naming ceremony for The RSS Sir David Attenborough on Sept. 26, 2019 in Birkenhead. Photo: © Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

William and Sir David have come together many other times. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the acclaimed natural historian in Birkenhead in September for the naming of the RRS David Attenborough, a scientific boat given its moniker in David's honour.

The royal outing was William's third engagement with David this year. In January, the Duke of Cambridge interviewed the filmmaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In April, he attended the premiere of David's Netflix documentary series Our Planet.

Don't miss a beat with HELLO! Canada's Daily Hits newsletter, your daily dose of royal and celebrity news, fashion, weddings and more. CLICK HERE to sign up for free!