The Duke of Cambridge’s landmark environmental prize has been hailed as a “great tribute” to the president it was named for, as John F Kennedy’s family gave their stamp of approval.
The Earthshot Prize, inspired by Kennedy’s “Moon Shot” speech, will work with the John F Kennedy Library Foundation as official partners, as they aim to find solutions to the world’s greatest climate challenges.
Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, the late president’s daughter, said it was a “great tribute” to his legacy that the Earthshot Prize was set up to “take on the most important challenge we face today – repairing the planet”.
The name refers to President Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University, which launched the race to reach the moon before the end of the decade.
In July 1969, the Apollo 11 mission successfully landed the first two human beings on the Moon and then safely returned to Earth.
“Over the past 60 years I have watched each new generation find inspiration in my father’s decision to send a man to the moon – not just inspiration for mankind or for America, but for their own lives,” said Caroline Kennedy.
“It is a great tribute to President Kennedy that The Earthshot Prize has been inspired by his moonshot to take on the most important challenge we face today – repairing the planet.
“My family and the JFK Library Foundation look forward to partnering with Prince William and The Earthshot Prize on this exciting initiative.”
Jason Knauf, the chief executive of The Royal Foundation, said: “Three years ago, Prince William challenged his team at The Royal Foundation to explore ways to harness the optimism and drive of President Kennedy’s moonshot to tackle the greatest challenge of our time – the grave threats to the natural world.
“As we developed The Earthshot Prize, time and time again we returned to President Kennedy’s words at his 1962 speech at Rice University.
“His vision for the moonshot as an organising goal for the best of the ‘energies and skills’ of his generation is what we have sought to reinvent for our age.
“The Earthshot Prize and our five Earthshots will help drive collective innovation and leadership to not just tackle our environmental crisis, but to build a fundamentally better world for all who come after us.
“It is a profound honour to have the partnership of Ambassador Kennedy and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation on the Earthshot mission.
“Almost 60 years on from a goal that inspired an unprecedented human endeavour, together we will show that best of our energies and skills can be harnessed to repair our planet in this decisive decade.”
The Earthshot Prize offers a £1 million prize to the winner of each of five environmental categories, for the next 10 years.
It hopes to find 50 solutions to the most urgent problems facing the world, and inspire optimism in the public that all is not lost in the fight to save the planet.
The first winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on October 17.