Prince William: saving the Earth should come before space tourism

Prince William has criticized the space race and space tourism, saying we should focus on protecting planet Earth instead.

“We need some of the greatest brains and minds in the world who are determined to try to fix this planet, not try to find the next place to live,” said the Duke of Cambridge when asked about climate change.

Prince William was interviewed by BBC ‘Newscast’ on BBC Sounds ahead of the first Earthshot Prize awards, an award for people trying to save the planet.

The name of the award refers to America’s “moonshot” ambition of the 1960s, which saw President John F Kennedy commit to putting a man on the moon within a decade.

The prince’s comments will air the day after William Shatner made history by becoming the oldest person in space.

Known for his role as Captain Kirk, the 90-year-old actor blasted off Wednesday from the Texas desert in a rocket built by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin.

KIERON MCCARRON/BBC/SILVERBACK STUDIO VIA PA MEDIA

The Duke also warned the Cop26 summit, where world leaders will meet in Glasgow at the end of the month, of “smart talk, smart words but not enough action”.

“I think for the COP it’s essential to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions will be,” he said.

“We can’t have smarter lyrics, smart words but not enough action.”

The Duke has expressed concern about a rise in climate anxiety among young people and said it would be an ‘absolute disaster’ if his eldest son, Prince George, were to talk about the same issue 30 years from now when it’s was too late.

“We’re seeing a rise in climate anxiety. You know, people, young people now are growing up where their future is fundamentally in jeopardy all the time. It’s very unnerving and it’s very, you know, anxiety-provoking,” did he declare.

William added that his father, the Prince of Wales, who is known for his longstanding commitment to environmental issues, had “a really difficult journey” when he first started talking about climate change.

The Duke, who was interviewed by ‘Newscast’ presenter Adam Fleming, said his late grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, sparked royal interest in environmental issues.

The Duke of Cambridge (right) with Adam Fleming recording an appearance on BBC Newscast at Kensington Palace, London.
The Duke of Cambridge (right) with Adam Fleming recording an appearance on BBC Newscast at Kensington Palace, London.

KENSINGTON PALACE VIA PA MEDIA

Speaking of his father Charles, Prince William said: “It’s been a tough road for him. My grandfather started helping WWF a long time ago with his nature and biodiversity work, and I think that my dad kind of progressed and talked a lot more about climate change, very early on, before anybody else thought it was a topic. So yeah, he had a really tough journey on that , and I think you know it’s been proven to be well ahead of the curve.

He added that his perspective has changed since having children of his own, saying: “I want the things that I have enjoyed – the outdoors, nature, the environment – I want this be there for my children, and not just my children, but everyone else’s children.

“If we’re not careful, we’re stealing our children’s future by what we’re doing now. And I think that’s not fair.

The winners in the five categories this year will each receive £1million to develop their projects after being chosen by a jury. William and the Duchess of Cambridge attend the star-studded ceremony, hosted by Clara Amfo and Dermot O’Leary, at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday.

“The award itself will spur solutions and actions that a lot of people haven’t necessarily produced yet, and so I’m hoping, you know, that the award will galvanize a lot of people in leadership positions to, you know, go further, bigger and start delivering,” the duke said.

COP26 is the deadline for countries to present more ambitious plans, within a five-year cycle, to put the world on track to meet the Paris goals.

The 2015 Paris Agreement commits countries to keeping temperature rises to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and continuing efforts to limit them to 1.5°C – beyond which impacts the most dangerous climatic conditions will be felt. The conference will begin in Glasgow on October 31.

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