Prince William, David Attenborough launch ‘Earthshot’ award

Britain's Prince William, right and Naturalist Sir David Attenborough discuss the Earthshot Prize at Kensington Palace, in London. (File/AP)
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Updated 08 October 2020

Prince William, David Attenborough launch ‘Earthshot’ award

  • The prize takes its inspiration from the Moonshot challenge that President John F. Kennedy set for the US in 1961
  • William said the same resources used to tackle the coronavirus pandemic should be devoted to saving the natural world

LONDON: Prince William has joined forces with renowned British broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough to launch a new environmental award Thursday, the Earthshot Prize, which has grand ambitions to “incentivize change and help to repair our planet over the next 10 years.”
The prize takes its inspiration from the Moonshot challenge that President John F. Kennedy set for the US in 1961 to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
William, who has been immersed in environmental issues all his life, said the same resources used to tackle the coronavirus pandemic should be devoted to saving the natural world.
“According to the experts, it really is the point of no return,” he told Sky News. “We have 10 years to fundamentally fix our planet.”
The plan envisions five prizes of 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) awarded each year for the next 10 years, providing at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030.
The first five Earthshots center on protecting and restoring nature, clean air, reviving oceans, building a waste-free world and fixing the climate.

“We very much hope that even if we can’t necessarily change the world in ten years’ time just from the prize alone, what we do hope is that, just like the Moonshot landings where they developed cat scanners, X-ray machines, breathing apparatus, stuff like that I think has been really, really important to come out of that,” William said.
Nominations open on Nov. 1 with an annual global awards ceremony held in a different city each year, starting with London in the fall of 2021. William will be part of the panel that makes the decisions.
The prize fund will be provided by the project’s global alliance founding partners, a group which includes the philanthropic bodies of billionaires like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and Michael Bloomberg.
Attenborough, 94, said time is of the essence.
“Suddenly there are real dangers that there may be a tipping point in which the icecaps of the North Pole begin to melt, which it’s doing already,” he told BBC radio. “It’s a matter of great urgency now.”
William also spoke about how his seven-year-old son, Prince George, is getting concerned about what’s going on in the world. He said his son was left so saddened by an Attenborough documentary about extinction that he told his father “I don’t want to watch this anymore.”


Hong Kong leader: National security law has been ‘effective’

Updated 14 min 14 sec ago

Hong Kong leader: National security law has been ‘effective’

  • Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong in June
  • ‘One of our urgent priorities is to restore Hong Kong’s constitutional order and political system from chaos’

HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Wednesday that the city’s new national security law has been “remarkably effective in restoring stability” after months of political unrest, and that bringing normalcy back to the political system is an urgent priority.
Lam made the comments in her annual policy address, more than a month after it was postponed so that she could seek Beijing’s support for various economic measures aimed at reviving the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s economy.
Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong in June, aiming to crack down on dissent following months of anti-government protests in the city that at times descended into violence. Last year’s protests were triggered by a proposed extradition law that would have allowed suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to the mainland. The proposal was eventually scrapped.
“Advocacies of Hong Kong independence and collusions with external forces have progressively subsided, some of the prominent figures have kept a low profile, radical organizations have ceased operations or dissolved,” Lam said in her address.
“After a year of social unrest with fear for personal safety, Hong Kong people can once again enjoy their basic rights and freedoms, according to the law,” she said.
Lam also criticized foreign governments for interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs, saying it had jeopardized national security.
Beijing has in recent months taken a tougher stance on dissent in Hong Kong, sparking concerns over the possible end of the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong has been operating since it was handed over to China by Britain in 1997.
Earlier this month, China passed a resolution disqualifying four pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers after they were accused of violating their oaths of office. The move prompted all of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy legislators to resign en masse as a show of solidarity.
Lam said that Hong Kong has experienced one of its most severe political challenges over the past year.
“One of our urgent priorities is to restore Hong Kong’s constitutional order and political system from chaos,” she said.
She said the government would introduce a bill by the end of this year to amend local laws related to oath-taking, to “deal with those who have engaged in conduct that breaches the oath of the swearing-in.”