Sometimes, being an environmentalist can be downright depressing. A quick scroll through the news generally elicits a somber list of stories about climate change, biodiversity loss, habitat destruction, pollution, and the list goes on. But lo, hidden among the tabloid news earlier this month was some good news, a ray of hope – five of them, actually.

I heard the Royals (Prince William and Kate Middleton) were visiting Boston (and that there were gossip-inducing “hiccups,” and of course front row seats at the NBA Celtics game). But the reason for their visit was seemingly buried in the fluff. Happily, I was able to unearth the fact that they were here for an important environmental cause.

The Earthshot Prize

In 2020, Prince William, along with David Attenbourough, announced the establishment of the Earthshot Prize. It’s an annual award given in five categories for innovative and sustainable solutions to Earth’s most pressing issues. The categories, which are based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals include:

  • Protect and restore nature
  • Build a waste-free world
  • Revive our oceans
  • Clean our air
  • Fix our climate

The award program is inspired by JFK’s “Moonshot” goal – an ambitious target of landing a person on the moon with only a decade to prepare. Similarly, the Earthshot aims to encourage world-changing innovation and problem-solving. This time with the same pressing timeline, but ideas from people across the globe.

2022 Earthshot Winners

Nominees are selected for consideration by a global network of nominators. They are then vetted and winners are selected by a diverse council of influencers including Queen Rania Al Abdullah from Jordan, Ernest Gibson, a youth climate activist from Fiji, astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim from the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee, among others.

Prize-winners are awarded £1 million (~1.2m USD) to scale their projects.

This year’s winners were recognized at a glitzy event in early December in Boston.

The 2022 winners are:

  • Kheyti – India – this Indian startup offers small-hold farmers an easy-to-install greenhouse that shelters subsistence crops from unpredictable conditions
  • Notpla – United Kingdom – this startup creates an alternative to plastic made from seaweed that is biodegradable
  • Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef – Australia – this network of women encourages ocean conservation approaches that marry indigenous and modern practices
  • Mukuru Clean Stoves – Kenya – these small household stoves use cleaner-burning biomass rather than coal or wood, and are economically accessible
  • 44.01 – Oman – this company has accelerated the natural process of mineralizing (and thus capturing) CO2 in peridotite, an abundant rock

Introduction from Prince William

Learn More About the Earthshot Prize

  • 5-Part TV Series – learn the story of each winner and hear from others who play a role in the project on Discovery+
  • Awards Program – see the awards program (with appearances from David Beckham, Billy Eilish, and Catherine O’Hara) on PBS
  • Even the tabloids are sharing this story of hope for the planet.

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News from Nature Net Members​​

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The Madison School Forest’s team-building program has seen a boost in participation. The Wisconsin State Journal checks in with students from Spring Harbor Middle School on their experience. The Madison Parks staff has moved into their new home at 330 E Lakeside Street, near Olin Park. Staff from the Madison School & Community Recreation are there too! The Cave of the Mounds is hosting a photo competition! Enter your 2022 photos from your time at Cave of the Mounds in three categories: cave, garden, woods. Details in link.

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