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Britain’s Prince William has called out the billionaire-funded space tourism race, stating that the funds should be redirected to conservation efforts on Earth.
The Duke of Cambridge made the comments in a recent interview with the BBC.
The space tourism race
The space tourism race has dominated headlines as of late, as billionaires Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson compete to bring paying passengers into space.
People have already booked reservations for future journeys, forking out $450,000 per ticket.
But the costs don’t stop there; the expeditions take a toll on planet Earth too.
According to The Guardian, one rocket launch produces up to 300 tons of carbon dioxide into the upper atmosphere. It can linger there for years to come.
Prince William thinks the money can be put to better use.
“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” he said to the BBC.
“I think that ultimately is what sold it for me – that really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future,” he said.
The duke added that he had ‘absolutely no interest’ in heading to space. He also noted that there’s a ‘fundamental question’ about the carbon footprint left by such trips.
The future of our planet
Humankind must act now to protect the environment for future generations, William said. He stated it would be ‘an absolute disaster’ if George, his eldest child, was still pushing for climate action in 30 years’ time. “Because by then we will be too late,” William said.
“We are seeing a rise in climate anxiety. Young people now are growing up where their futures are basically threatened the whole time. It’s very unnerving and it’s very anxiety making,” the prince added.
“I want the things that I’ve enjoyed – the outdoor life, nature, the environment – I want that to be there for my children, and not just my children but everyone else’s children.
“If we’re not careful we’re robbing from our children’s future through what we do now. And I think that’s not fair.”
It’s concerns like these that motivated the duke to launch the Earthshot Prize. The global initiative was created to reward those who are developing solutions to the climate crisis.
Fifteen shortlisted finalists will receive support from a network of private sector businesses around the world. Further, five finalists will receive £1 million.
“Over half a century ago, President Kennedy’s Moonshot programme united millions of people around the goal of reaching the moon. Inspired by this, The Earthshot prize aims to mobilise collective action around our unique ability to innovate, problem solve and repair our planet,” Prince William said.
The 15 inaugural finalists, which come from 14 countries, include a 14-year-old girl from India, the city of Milan, and the country Costa Rica.
The awards ceremony will be held on October 17.