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‘Struck a real chord!’ Prince William says Earthshot prize was inspired by rare rhino

Prince William congratulates finalists of inaugural Earthshot Prize

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The Duke of Cambridge, who is set to award a number of individuals for their contributions towards helping to solve the climate crisis, has shared the inspiration behind the creation of “the most ambitious environmental prize in history.”

According to the foreword for Earthshot: How to Save our Planet, the Duke of Cambridge was inspired to create the book and award programme while he was on an early-morning trip to see a black rhino in Namibia.

During his visit three years ago, he caught a small glimpse of a rare black rhino, which inspired him to help protect wildlife.

William writes in the book’s introduction: “The rich wildlife that I saw thriving on that visit struck a real chord.

“The community conservancy model is a prime example of how a simple, positive solution can have wide-reaching benefits for both humans and nature.

“Most importantly of all, it is a success story that can be replicated and scaled.

“I wanted to find a way to bottle that innovation and community spirit and mass-produce it globally.”

He continued: “I went from a 5 a.m. start to catch a fleeting glimpse of a shy black rhino in the north-west corner of Namibia, to building a team to deliver the most ambitious environmental prize in history.”

The Earthshot prize is an award given annually from 2021 to 2030, for five winners each year whose work has helped the environment.

The Duke of Cambridge has announced the 15 inaugural finalists for the Prize, who could win one of five $1.4 million (£1m) prizes.

The Prince said: “I am honored to introduce the 15 innovators, leaders, and visionaries who are the first ever Finalists for The Earthshot Prize.

“They are working with the urgency required in this decisive decade for life on Earth and will inspire all of us with their optimism in our ability to rise to the greatest challenges in human history.”

The awards are inspired by US President John Kennedy’s ambitious 1960s Moonshot space exploration initiative.

Jason Knauf CEO of The Royal Foundation, who awards the prize, told Hello magazine: “The challenge the Duke set himself was ‘What is the maximum positive personal contribution I can make in the next ten years in the fight against climate change?’

“‘What am I going to do in the next decade that means I can look my children in the eye and say that I did my bit?’

“Every aspect of the Prize bears the stamp of his contribution.”

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The awards ceremony will be streamed on October 17 live on Discovery’s Facebook page.

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