With the international awards ceremony coming to the US in 2022, innovators there believe Earthshot 2021 in London has shown the world the importance of backing, inspiring and acting on breakthrough environmental solutions.
And global coverage of the inaugural Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at the Alexandra Palace this week added further weight to the campaign, launched last year by Prince William Duke of Cambridge and legendary nature TV presenter Sir David Attenborough to accelerate solutions to environmental problems within ten years.
Speaking directly to the younger generation at the event, the Duke said: “For too long, we haven’t done enough to protect the planet for your future – but Earthshot is for you.”
“In the next ten years, we are going to act. We are going to find the solutions to repair our planet.”
The Prince and Sir David featured throughout the prize evening (Sunday 17 October), with awards presented by celebrities Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, Mo Salah, and other high-profile names, plus performances including Coldplay and Ed Sheeran.
Winners included Costa Rica for its tree saving programme, Indian social enterprise Takachar, that won the clean air award for its technology that converts crop residue into saleable bioproducts, saving farmers from burning unused crop residue, reducing smoke emissions by 98% and improving life expectancy by up to five years, and the City of Milan for its innovative food waste recovering hubs. All five winners each received £1 million from the Royal Foundation towards their efforts.
The campaign has been lauded by the environmental innovation community, including Michael Jansen, CEO and Founder of pioneering Digital Twin technology company Cityzenith, which uses its SmartWorldOS Digital Twin platform to slash carbon emissions between 50-100%, as well as cut operating costs in buildings by 35% and boost productivity by 20%.
Jansen said: “Urban Digital Twins can be linked to carbon offsets so that building asset owners as well as agriculture and forests can be monitored in real time, delivering benefits and rewards within a global Digital Twin ecosystem.
“Globally recognised awards and events like Earthshot can show how cumulative climate protection innovations and discoveries like ours will make a huge difference, thereby encouraging investment and adoption in many more climate-friendly technologies over the next decade.
“Significantly, Earthshot also takes its cue from President John F Kennedy’s Moonshot declaration, 60 years ago in 1961, when he challenged America to land a man on the Moon within 10 years – it showed what can be achieved by dedicated effort.”
Earthshot Prize next year in the US
Cityzenith’s own Clean Cities – Clean Future international initiative offers its Digital Twin technology to major polluting cities for free to help cut emissions drastically – New York and Las Vegas signed up recently with other major US and international cities expected to follow this year. Earthshot has motivated companies such as Cityzenith to transform the global environment and re-shape the future of sustainability and life longevity.
Jansen added: “Earthshot came just a little too early for Clean Cities – Clean Future, but we have been inspired and hope to add to the impetus of next year’s event when it comes to the US and follows up on US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry’s good work this year, in reversing government efforts back towards fighting Climate Change.”
In a message to the Earthshot awards event, Mr Kerry said: “I’m very proud to invite the Earthshot Prize to the United States in 2022, and to join you all in celebrating and supporting next year’s breakthrough solutions from around the world.
Others, like Richard Heinberg, have less faith in tech solutions for the climate crisis.