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Shakira and Cate Blanchett join Prince William in earth-saving project

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read

Prince William has enlisted Cate Blanchett and Shakira as well as Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Sir David Attenborough to help decide which projects will be given prize funding from his £50m Earthshot fund.

William, 38, launched the Earthshot Prize on Thursday 8 October, following two years of work, and has confirmed the names of those who will be part of the panel distributing the money to projects which help tackle some of the planet’s biggest problems.

Blanchett said: “I feel extremely honoured to be a member of the Earthshot Prize Council, and humbled and invigorated to be amongst such extraordinary activists, experts and leaders in the environmental sector.

“All around the world, science and community-based initiatives are leading to ground-breaking inventions and solutions which, if provided with the platform and resources to be implemented on a larger scale, could have a significant and positive impact on the environment and global economy.

“The Earthshot Prize aims to do just that, and by providing this vital platform, we hope to refocus the narrative on climate change to one of hope and action.”

As well as singing and acting royalty, the panel also includes fellow royal Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, and former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Footballer Dani Alves is also on the council, alongside Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an activist from Chad, philanthropist Jack Ma, and former PepsiCo chairman Indra Nooyi.

Sir David Attenborough, former astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, economist and international development expert Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and basketball hall of famer and environmentalist Yao Ming complete the line-up.

The full Earthshot Prize council has been confirmed, and includes Sir David Attenborough. (Royal Foundation)
The full Earthshot Prize council has been confirmed, and includes Sir David Attenborough. (Royal Foundation)

Read more: Prince William launches £50m prize fund to repair the planet

Each year from 2021 until 2030, the council will award five £1m prizes to projects that help in one of five categories: building a waste-free world, cleaning the air, restoring and protecting nature, reviving the oceans and fixing the climate.

The name of the prize was taken from President John F Kennedy’s Moonshot programme, which put a man on the moon in the 1960s.

The prizes will be open to anyone, from individuals to groups of scientists or activists, or even cities or countries.

Shakira said: “Your children, my children – they have to find ways to reduce carbon emissions, to repair our oceans, to clean the air. So we need young minds to be informed and invested, which is why education is so important.

“But we can’t just stand still. We have to lead the way and we have to do it now. I know it’s ambitious and I know there will be so many challenges along the way but I also know there will be so many who will rise to the occasion.”

(L-R) Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, British naturalist, documentary maker and broadcaster David Attenborough, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, pose upon arrival for the Global Premiere of "Our Planet" in London on April 4, 2019. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP)        (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)
William is continuing a long royal connection with Sir David Attenborough. (AFP)

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William, a father-of-three, also hopes the prize will inspire a decade of action and that it will bring optimism and hope to the climate fight.

Sir David said: “I really do think things are about to start to move, and this sort of idea could be the spark that is really going to give it the lift and the impetus to develop into something huge. It’s a great source of hope, and I hope it spreads around the world.”

William’s environmental credentials have increased in the last few years, and his documentary Prince William: A Planet for Us All, which first aired on Monday 5 October, charted his efforts to protect nature.

His father and his grandfather, Prince Charles and Prince Philip, have also been considered ahead of their time for their warnings about the environment. Charles made his first speech about single use plastic more than 50 years ago.

WATCH: William hopes Earthshot Prize will drive ‘decade of change’