The Duke of Cambridge has spoken out about the urgency of protecting the planet amid the ongoing climate crisis in a new TED talk.



Prince William, Duke of Cambridge sitting in a tree


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Filmed in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the talk forms part of Countdown, the first free and virtual TED Conference devoted entirely to environmental issues.

In the talk, Prince William stands alongside an oak tree and explains how it and many others in the grounds of Windsor Castle are thousands of years old.

“While these oaks have been growing, around 35 billion people have lived their lives on our planet,” he said.

“That’s 35 billion lifetimes worth of hope, love, fear and dreams. In that time, humankind has invented air travel, vaccines and computers. 

“We’ve explored every part of the globe, sequenced the human genome and even escaped Earth’s atmosphere. Our speed of innovation has been incredible. But so too has the acceleration of our impact.”

The prince went on to describe the science as “irrefutable” and explains how climate change will affect people differently.

“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,” he said. 

“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.”



a large tree in a grassy field: The oak tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle.Kensington Palace


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The oak tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle.Kensington Palace

The Duke goes on to reference Earthshot, the major environmental prize that he launched alongside Sir David Attenborough on Thursday.

The Earthshot Prize will see more than £50m awarded over the next decade to help applicants find solutions to the world’s more pressing environmental concerns by 2030.

Prince William is calling for “amazing people” to apply with “brilliant innovative projects”.

The prize money will be split between five winners each year up until 2030, with each of them receiving £1m.

The Earthshot Prize is centred around five “earthshots” goals for repairing the planet.

The five goals are: protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix our climate.

“If we achieve these goals, by 2030 our lives won’t be worse, and we won’t have to sacrifice everything we enjoy,” Prince William added.

“Instead, the way we live will be healthier, cleaner, smarter and better for all of us.

“I’m determined to both start and end this decade as an optimist.”

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