LONDON (AP) — Celebrities joined Prince William in London on Sunday for the inaugural awards ceremony of his Earthshot Prize, an ambitious environmental program aimed at finding new ideas and technologies around the world to tackle climate change and Earth’s most pressing challenges.
Actors Emma Thompson, Emma Watson and David Oyelowo joined Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, in handing out the awards at Alexandra Palace in north London.
Guests were asked to “consider the environment when choosing their outfit,” and Watson arrived wearing a gown made from 10 wedding dresses from the charity Oxfam. Kate wore an Alexander McQueen dress made for her in 2011, while her husband wore a dark green velvet blazer and a polo neck.
William and his charity, The Royal Foundation, launched the Earthshot Prize last year, inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 “Moonshot” speech that challenged and inspired Americans to go to the moon.
The prize, to be awarded to five winners every year until 2030, is billed as the most prestigious of its kind. Each winner will receive a grant worth 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) to develop and scale up their ideas.
“There’s been lots of amazing ideas over the past decades but it’s the implementation that really counts, so that’s what this is all about. So it’s really a reason to be cheerful,” Thompson said.
The winners announced Sunday included a land-based coral farm in the Bahamas to restore dying coral reefs, a green hydrogen technology developed to transform how homes and buildings are powered, and an India-based technology that creates fuel from agricultural waste in a bid to stop crop burning.
The government of Costa Rica was honored for a project that pays local citizens to restore natural ecosystems, and the city of Milan was handed a prize for its Food Waste Hubs program, which recovers food from supermarkets and restaurants and distributes it to those in need.
In a pre-recorded short video, William said: “We are alive in the most consequential time in human history.”
“The actions we choose or choose not to take in the next 10 years will determine the fate of the planet for the next 1,000,” he said.
“Many of the answers are already out there,” he added. “But we need everyone, from all parts of society. to raise their ambition and unite in repairing our planet.”.
The ceremony came days ahead of the COP26 U.N. climate change summit in Glasgow, which begins on Oct. 31.
Follow all AP stories on climate change issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change.
Sylvia Hui, The Associated Press