Prince William says John F. Kennedy’s mission to put a man on the moon inspired the royal Earthshot Prize contest
11th October 2020

  • The Duke of Cambridge delivered his first TED Talk remotely from outside Windsor Castle on Saturday. 
  • Prince William introduced the Earthshot Prize, which will award five $1.3 million prizes each year until 2030 to those who can come up with solutions to environmental problems.
  • The duke said he was inspired by President John F. Kennedy's Moonshot, an ambitious 1961 mission to get a man on the moon within a decade.
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Prince William gave his first TED Talk on Saturday to launch his Earthshot Prize initiative, a competition that will award five, $1.3 million prizes each year for the next decade to those who can come up with solutions to environmental problems.

The Duke of Cambridge's talk was a part of Countdown, TED's first free virtual conference dedicated to discussing climate change.

Prince William and Kate Middleton first announced the initiative in late 2019, and the couple recently shared that they are working with "Planet Earth" narrator David Attenborough on the program.

In his speech, the duke said that the Earthshot Prize was inspired by President John F. Kennedy's famous mission to reach the moon.

"I've long been inspired by President John F Kennedy's 1961 mission to put a man on the moon within a decade — he named it the moonshot," he said.

However, Prince William said that for this decade, we need Earthshots instead of moonshots.

"We must harness that same spirit of human ingenuity and purpose and turn it with laser sharp focus and urgency on the most pressing challenge we have ever faced – repairing our planet," he said.

While giving his TED Talk, Prince William spoke underneath one of the giant oak trees on the grounds of Windsor Castle. He said that some of the oaks around Windsor are "almost 1,000 years old."

"In that time, humankind has invented air travel, vaccines, and computers. We've explored every part of the globe, sequenced the human genome, and even escaped Earth's atmosphere," he said.

"Our speed of innovation has been incredible. But so too has the acceleration of our impact," he added.

Prince William delivered his TED Talk underneath one of Windsor Castle's giant oak trees.
Kensington Palace

The duke outlined a list of goals: protect and restore nature, clean the air, revive the oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix the climate.

"If we achieve these goals, by 2030 our lives won't be worse, and we won't have to sacrifice everything we enjoy. Instead, the way we live will be healthier, cleaner, smarter, and better for all of us," he said.

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