Prince of the Planet: from the boy who roamed free around Sandringham to the statesman in Singapore – the Prince’s proud track record of fighting for the environment…
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There can be no doubting the effectiveness of Prince William’s environmental campaigning.
With a judicious mix of personal passion and celebrity endorsement, the Prince of Wales’s Earthshot campaign has proved hugely successful at raising public awareness – a point pressed home by the huge coverage of William’s current visit to Singapore on behalf of the project.
Singapore is to host the third annual awards ceremony, in which five winners will each be awarded £1million.
The son of Australian environmental campaigner Steve Irwin, 19-year-old Robert, spoke for many last week when he credited William with making climate change a mainstream issue.
Prince William has arrived in Singapore, which will host the third annual awards ceremony of his Earthshot Prize for environmental innovation. He is pictured with Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Development, with the world’s tallest indoor waterfall in the background
Pictured: Prince William speaks during the inaugural Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London in October 2021
Pictured: William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, attending The Earthshot Prize at Boston’s MGM Music Hall in December 2022
Pictured: Prince William on one of the walkways in the village of Tortel, Southern Chile during his continuing Operation Raleigh expedition, in December 2000
Not that the Prince of Wales is the first on the scene – not even in his own family, as he would be quick to acknowledge.
William is the third generation of Windsors to put the environment at the forefront of this thinking behind his father, King Charles and grandfather, Prince Philip.
William has credited his developing love for nature to a childhood spent outdoors, particularly on the Sandringham estate, where he was allowed to roam freely..
After St Andrews University, the heir to the throne spent a year in Chile where he worked on community projects with the Raleigh International expedition group.
During the three-month stay, he helped build and decorate houses and playgrounds and was seen painting and chopping wood. He also worked on a dairy farm.
READ MORE: Prince William will look to cement himself as ‘global statesman’ in his visit to US
William reportedly also spent time in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana where he spent his gap year learning about the nation’s wildlife and the challenges the local environment faced.
His passion for nature followed him to university after he swapped his degree course at the University of St Andrews in Scotland – where he met his wife Kate Middleton – from Art History to Geography.
During his time at university, William undertook a field trip to the ice caps of Jostedalen in Norway.
He and wrote a 10,000-word dissertation on the coral reefs of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean.
In December 2005, William became patron of the Tusk Trust – a charity that works towards conserving wildlife and initiating community development across Africa.
In 2013, William helped launch the Tusk Conservation Awards for environmental activists.
Having graduated from St Andrews, Williams took part in Operation Raleigh in Chile
Pictured: Princes Harry and William during the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference at Lancaster House in London in February 2014
Prince William speaks during The Tusk Conservation Awards ceremony in London in November 2019
Prince William at the Mkomazi National Park, Tanzania watching rhino during the filming of Prince William: A Planet For Us All in 2018
Pictured: The royal feeds a baby elephant in the wild elephant valley in Xishuangbanna, southwest China’s Yunnan province in March 2015
In 2013, he succeeded his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, as president of Fields in Trust, a charity supporting parks and green spaces.
He is also patron of Fauna and Flora International and the British Trust for Ornithology.
The following year, William announced the formation of the United for Wildlife taskforce to find ways of combating wildlife trafficking.
He has long campaigned against illegal wildlife trade, which includes the poaching of elephants for ivory and tigers for their skins, calling for a commitment to end the ‘abhorrent crime’ .
William was followed by cameras for two years as he encouraged action to fight for the environment in his ITV documentary, Prince William: A Planet For Us All, which first aired in October 2020.
He said: ‘Now I have got George, Charlotte and now Louis in my life – your outlook does change. You want to hand over to the next generation, the wildlife in a much better condition.
‘Two years ago a film crew joined me on my search for ways to protect the natural world.
‘I’ve always believed it’s possible to give the young people hope and belief that things can get fixed. I have the belief that if we all work together we can make a difference.’
Speaking of how his children’s passion for nature encouraged him to do more to safeguard the planet, William added: ‘Seeing my children, seeing the passion in their eyes and the love for being outdoors. They find a bug or they love watching how bees are forming honey.
‘George, particularly, if he’s not outdoors, he’s quite like a caged animal. He needs to get outside.’
He added that all three of his children love to be outdoors and explore around their Anmer Hall home in Norfolk.
Pictured: Prince William feeds a black rhino called Zawadi as he visits Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent in June 2012
Pictured: The Prince and Princess of Wales riding in an open air Jeep on a safari at Kaziranga National Park in April 2016 in Guwahati, India
Pictured: The father of three during the United for Wildlife (UfW) Global Summit at the Science Museum in London in October 2022
The documentary also charted his journey from being passionate about conservation to wanting to play a greater global leadership role in the environment.
The arrival of the documentary came as Prince William joined a star-studded line-up to give a virtual TED talk about climate change in October of the same year.
The royal appeared alongside a panel of keen environmentalists and celebrities at TED’s Countdown Global Launch to discuss how the world can tackle global warming and ensure a better, healthier future for the planet.
Speaking during Countdown, father-of-three William said failing to take action now means the damage humans have done to the planet will be ‘irreversible’.
‘The science is irrefutable. If we do not act in this decade, the damage that we have done will be irreversible and the effects felt not just by future generations, but by all of us alive today.
‘And what’s more, this damage will not be felt equally by everyone. It is the most vulnerable, those with the fewest resources, and those who have done the least to cause climate change, who will be impacted the most.
‘These stark facts are terrifying. How can we hope to fix such massive, intractable problems? It may seem overwhelming. But it is possible.’
A year later in November 2021, Prince William spoke at the COP26 World Leaders’ Summit in Glasgow, highlighting both the urgent need for action and the individuals and groups who are already working towards a brighter future for our planet.
Later, the royals hosted a reception for the key members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Winners and Finalists of the first Earthshot Prize Awards.
Founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2020, The Earthshot Prize is a global environmental prize to discover and develop ground-breaking solutions to solve the climate crisis.
Five winners each year over the next decade will be given £1 million each in prize money, as well as specialised mentoring, to accelerate their ambitions.
The Prize recognises Finalists and Winners across five challenges, or ‘Earthshots’: Protect and Restore Nature, Clean our Air, Revive our Oceans, Build a Waste-free World, and Fix our Climate.
Last year’s ceremony took place in the US in Boston, when guests arrived in hybrid vehicles and were encouraged to wear vintage, recycled or reusable clothing.
Pictured: Prince William speaks during the World Leaders’ Summit session on day three of COP26 in November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland
Pictured: The Prince of Wales during a short film aired during The Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony in Boston in December 2022
Pictured: Prince William and David Attenborough attend a conversation during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, in January 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland
Pictured: William and Kate attend the Earthshot Prize 2021 at Alexandra Palace in October 2021 in London
Kate, who presented an award, wore a rented lime green Solace London dress from fashion platform Hurr and teamed it with an emerald choker worn by Princess Diana.
William has said that Earthshot was inspired by John F Kennedy’s Moonshot programme, which challenged America to put man on the moon and helped launch the Moon landing in 1969.
Last year’s winners included a British start-up, Notpla, which uses seaweed to make packaging.
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