Earthshot Winners Announced: the People Taking on Climate Change
On the 7th November, five winners of the Earthshot Prize 2023 were announced by Prince William at a star-studded event in Singapore. Out of 1300 nominees, the winners included community projects, high tech startups, and charities. The Earthshot awards have gained great global interest and shines a spotlight on communities working to protect our planet.
The purpose of the Earthshot Prize is to accelerate sustainable development and innovation, and has 5 defining categories. By 2030, the five Earthshot winners aim to: Protect and Restore Nature by seeing a growth in natural habitats; Clean Our Air and ensure that globally the World Health Organisation standard is met; Revive Our Oceans and future proof them for the next generation; Build a Waste-Free World with a focus on removing single use plastics, and finally, Fix Our Climate which has the aim to build a carbon neutral economy.
Each of the winners are awarded £1million to help develop their projects as well as receiving recognition and notoriety within the sustainability community. Back in 2020, Prince William set up the prize and is described by the Royal Foundation as “the most prestigious global prize for the environment in history”. From 2021 to 2030, a winner will be announced for each of the five categories having been judged by the Earthshot Prize Council (which includes in their midst Prince William himself and Sir David Attenborough).
The 2023 winners were varied. From a conservation community project in the Andes planting almost 10 million native trees since 2018, to an Indian food waste prevention scheme that empowers female farmers by supplying solar powered food processors. One company – Boomitra – uses AI and satellite images to help farmers restore their soil health and improves food security.
The winner the Clean Our Air Earthshot, meanwhile, has developed a unique technology than can reduce greenhouse emissions by 40%. GRST (Green, Renewable and Sustainable Technology) uses water instead of NMP solvents to produce lithium batteries. This has the potential for a variety of uses from manufacturing to powering electric cars. Currently, lithium-ion batteries require destructive mining techniques to obtain the finite materials required.
and as As the world moves away from fossil fuels, the demand for lithium will only increase, risking the future of many of earth’s habitats. Furthermore, using water is less toxic than NMP solvents and also makes the battery easier to recycle, thus ultimately reducing waste. With the prize money, the Hong Kong based start-up is set to build the world’s greenest lithium-ion battery factory in China and upscale its battery production.
Other winners and nominees from previous years include The City of Milan Food Waste Hubs for the Build a Waste-Free World, Reeddi Capsules for Fix Our Climate, and The Great Bubble Barrier for Revive Our Oceans. One 2021 finalist is Vinisha Umashankar who at 14 created solar powered carts that improved ironing vendors health in India as an alternative to the charcoal stands used in her community.
Seeing through the glamour, it’s clear to see the legacy the Earthshot prizes create, and the importance of the awareness it creates for the climate crisis. Who will win next?