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Earthshot Prize: Making the impossible possible

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Autor: Sina Ruhwedel

Earthshot Prize: Making the impossible possible
Matt Damon, Co-Founder of Water.org, spoke at The Earthshot Summit Plenary.

September 29, 2022 | On 21 September the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit was held in New York. Along with showcasing the ground-breaking work of the inaugural Finalists and Winners, an incredible line-up of speakers from around the world including heads of state, business leaders, philanthropists and activists discussed what we can all do to address our most pressing environmental challenges.

The Earthshot Prize is designed to incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years. Five, one million-pound prizes will be awarded each year for the next ten years, providing at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030. The five categories are:

  1. Protect& Restore Nature,
  2. Clean our Air,
  3. Revive our Oceans,
  4. Build a Waste-Free World and
  5. Fix our Climate.

Inspiring activists and brilliant innovators

The summit was hosted by Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and Global Advisor to the Winners of The Earthshot Prize. He opened the summit with the following words:

“When you’re pushing big goals, there are no small jobs. Everyone has a role to play – and every role is important. That spirit is what took us to the moon – and it’s what will make it possible to save the Earth from climate change. Today, we have the opportunity to celebrate innovators who are leading the way. They are taking on hard challenges, like reforestation, carbon renewal, coral restoration, turning sanitation waste into organic fertilizer, generating hydrogen power, and reducing food waste.”

“We must collaborate in new ways, and we must be courageous.”

His Royal Highness Prince William, founder of the Earthshot Prize, wasn’t able to attend the summit personally. In a pre-recorded speech he said, “Protecting the environment was a cause close to my Grandmother’s heart, and I know she would have been delighted to hear about this event and the support you are all giving our Earthshot Finalists, the next generation of environmental pioneers.”

“These pioneers exemplify the leadership needed in this decade of change,” he continued, describing the inaugural Earthshot Prize winners. “They include inspiring activists, brilliant innovators, a forward-thinking city, and even an entire country making a real difference. But they cannot do it alone. This must be a team effort. We must come together behind their innovative solutions to ensure they reach their full potential with pace and scale. We must collaborate in new ways, and we must be courageous.”

Speakers from all around the world

Special guests included:

  • Her Majesty Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan, Member of The Earthshot Prize Council;
  • Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris;
  • The Honorable Caroline Kennedy, US Ambassador to Australia;
  • Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand;
  • Bill Gates, Co-Chair,
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Founder;
  • Matt Damon, Actor and Activist; Co-Founder of Water.org;
  • Christiana Figueres, Chair The Earthshot Prize.

“While political action is essential to achieving sustainable development goals, civil society and the private sector have an equally important role to play, especially in generating innovative approaches. The Earthshot finalists today – you embody this,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said.  “We cannot expect environmental innovations to happen in a vacuum, nor for good ideas to create change if they’re not supported to flourish. We can all and should marvel at the ideas we see here today. But let us also remember that we have a role in helping pave the way for them as kaitiaki, guardians, because our children expect nothing more.”

Making the impossible possible

Through various announcements, Bloomberg Philanthropies committed more than $20 million through direct grants, co-funding, and other efforts to  support the success of the inaugural Finalists and Winners of The Earthshot Prize 2021, including:

  • Scaling Takachar’s technology, which reduces smoke emissions from agricultural waste by up to 98%, through a pilot program in villages in the state of Punjab and Haryana, India.
  • Supercharging Pristine Seas’ 30×30 ocean protected goal through funding major ocean expeditions, helping establish more marine protected areas, and enhancing diplomacy and advocacy efforts. Pristine Seas has already helped establish 26 marine reserves worldwide, across an area over twice the size of India.
  • Scaling Coral Vita’s research capabilities to identify new restoration sites and monitor both restoration progress and local marine health after installation. Coral Vita’s cutting-edge methods to grow coral up to 50 times faster than nature can help replant our oceans and give new life to dying ecosystems.
  • Expanding the capacity of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and Blue Map App to scale its data, research, and reporting capabilities.
  • Convening at least ten North American and European cities in partnership with C40 and NRDC to accelerate efforts to address food waste and food insecurity by sharing best practices from and helping to scale the City of Milan’s Local Food Waste Hub initiative, which currently provides about 260,000 meals to those most in need, to other cities.

Beyond the new investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the inaugural Winners and Finalists networked with more than 200 global business, tech, environmental and investment leaders  and discussed the strategies and resources required to scale their solutions at speed. In bespoke pitch events aimed to unlock additional investments, they also presented their solutions to venture capital firms and investors with more than $70 billion in assets. Going forward, the Winners and Finalists will have access to BloombergNEF, a strategic research provider covering global commodity markets and disruptive technologies driving the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Just as President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot united millions of people around the goal of reaching the moon, The Earthshot Prize aims to catalyze a new wave of sustainable innovation and champion the eco-innovators in making the seemingly impossible, possible in this decade. Fittingly, Boston will host the second annual awards, and today’s event kicked off the official countdown to the 2022 Earthshot Prize awards in Boston in early December 2022.

Earthshot Prize Website

 

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