David Attenborough’s thoughts would win the Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot prize
The Duke of Cambridge wants to leave his mark, he wants to leave a legacy as his grandfather has and his father, Prince Charles, has with the Prince’s Trust. He has set up the Earthshot Prize. He wants to create an optimism and urgency in fixing climate change and other damage done to the environment by human activities.
In all, £15 million of prize money is available for the best ideas to save the planet. Five £1 million prizes will be awarded annually over 10 years to people or countries that come up with the most creative solutions on the topics of: protecting and restoring nature, cleaning our air, reviving our oceans, building a waste-free world and fixing our climate.
Like his father, the Duke of Cambridge is passionate about the environment and animal welfare. He wants to galvanise the best brains on the planet to fix the world’s problems with respect to these issues. The name of the prize is taken from John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot speech in which he outlined his objective to put a man on the moon together with the Nobel Prize.
Sir David Attenborough in an interview on What Planet Are We On, aired on Radio 5 Live’s podcast, provides solutions which I think would win one of the Earthshot prizes. I have to confess that I’m very pessimistic because any solutions to the planet must entail the cooperation of all the nations. It has to be an international project and it seems to me that this may be an insurmountable barrier because history tells us that countries are pulling in different directions because they follow self-interest at the expense of the planet as a whole.
Attenborough, 94, recommends that rich people in the West must cope with a little less in order to restore the planet and to act as a circuit breaker to climate change.
He wants a pause in the standards of living in wealthy countries. To put it another way, people have to start living more economically and the excesses of the capitalist system needs to be curbed. He suggests that people have learned that greed does not lead to joy and of course greed leads to excesses in the capitalist system which in turn leads to abuses of environment and nature which further, in the long term, destroys the planet.
He also has a beef with meat-eaters despite eating chicken himself although he admits to his “middle-class hypocrisy” as he describes it. He suggests that if the world became vegan we would need only half the land we use at the moment for food production.
There is one non-politically correct topic which appears not to have been mentioned, at least in The Times report of his podcast. This is human population growth. Surely this is the most important factor in resolving these big issues. There has to be a break on human population growth together with the ideas suggested by Sir David Attenborough to solve the world’s environmental ills.