Prince William has slammed billionaire space tourists such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk for pursuing space travel instead of helping to solve the climate crisis.
In an impassioned plea to two of the world’s richest men, both worth around £150billion each, the Duke of Cambridge said: “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”
A new age space race between Amazon.com founder Bezos’s Blue Origin and Tesla founder Musk has emerged pitting two of the world’s richest and brainiest men against each other.
In contrast, father-of-three William has said he is being motivated with his environmental work to “use my little bit of influence” to help change the world for future generations.
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Prince William has slammed billionaire space tourists such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
The future king has created the Earthshot Prize, an ambitious global initiative to celebrate those working to repair the planet with a series of £1million prizes over the next decade, which will have its inaugural awards on Sunday.
He said: “Now I’ve got children as well and speaking to other parents you start to see the world differently.
“I want the things that I’ve enjoyed – the outdoor life, nature, the environment – I want that to be there for my children, and not just my children but everyone else’s children.
Jeff Bezos (R) greets William Shatner (L) as he emerges from the capsule after landing
“If we’re not careful we’re robbing from our children’s future through what we do now. And I think that’s not fair. I want to use my little bit of influence / profile to highlight incredible people doing incredible things and will genuinely help fix some of these problems.”
His comments, which will be broadcast today in an interview on the BBC Newscast podcast, come as Hollywood actor William Shatner yesterday (WEDS) became the oldest person to go to space.
The rocket launches into the air
The 90-year-old, who played Captain James T Kirk in the Star Trek films and TV series, took off from the Texas desert with three other individuals in a mission paid for by Bezos.
Mr Shatner's trip on the rocket lasted about 10 minutes, while in July Bezos made his own 10 minute flight into space in his self funded rocket New Shepard saying it was his “best day ever!"
An emotional William Shatner becomes oldest ever spaceman
Bullish William said the selfish actions of others were “robbing from our children’s future”.
Ahead of the UN Climate Change conference – dubbed Cop26 – in Glasgow next month, and just days from the inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony on Sunday – the Duke warned against “clever speak, clever words, but not enough action”.
He said it was critical for the climate conference to “communicate very clearly and very honestly about what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be”.
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In the 35 minute interview with the BBC’s Adam Flemming, William paid tribute to his late grandfather Prince Philip as well as his father Prince Charles, who this year celebrated his 50 year anniversary campaigning on environmental issues.
Remarking how it how it would be “an absolute disaster” if his eldest son Prince George was calling for change in 30 years, he said: “My grandfather started off helping out WWF a long time ago with its nature work and biodiversity, and I think that my father’s sort of progressed that on and talked about climate change a lot more, very early on, before anyone else thought it was a topic.
“So yes, he's had a really rough ride on that, and I think you know he's been proven to being well ahead of the curve.
“Well beyond his time in warning about some of these dangers. But it shouldn't be that there's a third generation now coming along having to ramp it up even more.
"And you know, for me, it would be an absolute disaster if George is sat here talking to you or your successor, Adam, you know in like 30 years’ time, whatever, still saying the same thing, because by then we will be too late.
William’s Earthshot Prize is aiming to find ambitious solutions to solving the world's biggest problems.
Every year from 2021 until the end of the decade, winners in five categories will each receive £1 million after being picked by a judging panel.
They will be recognised for new ideas, technologies, policies or solutions which tackle one of the five Earthshots: Protect and restore nature; Clean our air, Revive our oceans; Build a waste-free world; and Fix our climate.
He added: “That's why The Earthshot Prize is so important, because we're trying to create action.”