Five recipients including the Republic of Costa Rica and the city of Milan were announced as the first Earthshot Prize winners for their innovative solutions to save the planet. 

What is Happening? 

The first-ever Earthshot Prize was awarded to five recipients on Sunday, October 17, recognising their innovative solutions in helping solve the climate crisis and efforts to alleviate critical environmental issues around the world. 

The annual awards, launched by Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, were handed out to the Republic of Costa Rica, for its highly effective scheme of paying locals to help restore and reforest the country’s natural ecosystems; the Takachar project in India, which is a portable machine converting agricultural waste into fertiliser to reduce air pollution; Coral Vita from the Bahamas, a project run by two best friends restoring dying coral reefs and using special tanks to grow coral 50 times faster than they normally take in nature; food waste hubs in the city of Milan, which saw the city collect unused food and redistributing it back to those who need it most; AEM Electrolyser, an innovative system based in Thailand that generates hydrogen energy, a cleaner gas than those produced by burning fossil fuels, by splitting splitting water into hydrogen. 

Each of these Earthshot prize winners will receive £1 million to scale up and expand its efforts to save the planet. 

The Earthshot prize is named so in reference to the “Moonshot” ambition of 1960s America, where President John F Kennedy pledged to get a man on the Moon within a decade. Likewise, the eco-prize will take place every year over the next 10 years, awarding £1 million to five projects each year to protect the future of our planet. 

The Earthshot challenges are split into five categories: protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix our climate. Since the announcement of the awards in December 2019, the prestigious environment prize considered over 200 nominators, from businesses to governments to grassroots initiatives. The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 15 by a panel of judges including Sir David Attenborough, the Queen of Jordan, and Jack Ma. 

These winning solutions, and those there were shortlisted, are all important in solving the climate crisis together. We cannot rely on a single solution, but rather utilise different methods to tackle different problems and landscapes. Ahead of the upcoming UN climate summit COP26 , world leaders would need to prioritise not only plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but to invest in various solutions to help reach net-zero emissions targets. 

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