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Earthshot Prize Winners Announced

The second ever annual Earthshot Prize awards were announced on 2nd December, unveiling a set of 5 new winners who will receive £1 million to help further fund their solutions to the world’s most pressing climate issues.

What are the Earthshot Prizes?

Founded by Prince William and Sir David Attenborough in 2020, the Earthshot Prizes are awarded to companies, organisations and groups that aim to make a positive change to the climate crisis. It has been described by the Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales as “the most prestigious global prize for the environment in history.” This year the winners spanned the globe with groups based in Oman, India, Australia, the UK, and Kenya.

The name of the award ‘Earthshot’ took inspiration from John F Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’ initiative from the 1960s to get man on the moon within 10 years. Prince William has similar aspirations to set the world on a better trajectory in the coming decade as well, a goal that some have criticised for being overly ambitious.

The Earthshot awards ceremony was held in Boston during the first abroad royal visit since the passing of the Queen and aired on BBC One on Sunday, 4th December. The event was interspersed with performances by the likes of Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding, and Billie Eilish, as well as hosts such as David Beckham and Shailene Woodley who presented the prizes to the winners.

Who Were the Winners?

The winners of the Earthshot prizes are split into 5 categories:

1. Fix Our Climate

The winner of this award was the Oman based company 44.01 that has developed a safe, cost-effective, and permanent method of transferring CO2 from the atmosphere into the ground by speeding up the natural process of mineralisation. The founder of the company Talal Hasan has said that: “The answers to the problems our planet faces can often be found in the natural world.”

“We believe this process is replicable globally and can play a key role in helping our planet to heal.”

2. Clean Our Air

This was awarded to the company Mukuru Clean Stoves based in Mukuru, which is one of Nairobi’s largest slums. The founder of the company, Charlot Magayi, noticed while living in Mukuru that the stoves she and her neighbours used were both fuel inefficient and dangerous. Due to this, Charlot developed a cheaper stove that uses biomass and wood with a studier base to prevent further respiratory illnesses and spilling accidents. The product has already reached 200,000 homes and continues to save more lives from household respiratory issues.

Charlot aspires to provide over 10 million people throughout Africa with clean stoves and said that as “An enthusiast of science and social studies, I wanted to inspire fellow women to lead the fight against household air pollution in Africa.”

3. Build a Waste Free World

By using seaweed as an alternative packaging material to plastic, the London based company Notpla was given the Build a Waste Free World prize. The company was founded by Pierre Paslier and Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, who started their endeavour at Imperial College London.

The company has since sold 1 million totally biodegradable takeaway food boxes to JustEat Takeaway. Also, Notpla has developed edible packaging that can contain water or other liquids such as Lucozade, which were used during the London Marathon to hydrate runners on their course. The company aims to irradicate single use plastic with a seaweed revolution.

4. Protect and Restore Nature

The winners, a company called Kheyti, are the creators of the Greenhouse-in-a-Box: a farming initiative in India which is fighting to maintain yearly crop security. This is aimed at helping small holding farmers in a sustainable way that can withstand the already devastating effects that climate change is having on crops.

The company aims to reach 50,000 farmers by 2027 with their low-cost high yield greenhouses.

5. Revive Our Oceans

This award was given to the Indigenous Women of The Great Barrier Reef, who have effectively started a conserve and protect programme in Queensland.  By combining traditional first nations cultural knowledge with modern technology, they have helped to preserve the flora and fauna of The Great Barrier Reef.

The women rangers have focused on areas like the sea grasses that absorb CO2  35 times faster than that of tropical rainforests, rescuing sea turtles and training junior rangers about Native Australian culture in relation to climate change.

In order to find out more, visit the Earthshot prize Website, or watch the Award ceremony on BBC One here.

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