The Duke of Cambridge was addressing a group of seven young people named 2020 Young Champions of the Earth by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in a video call on Wednesday. He said: “If every young person educates their family on the environmental impact they are having, that in turn is making a difference and changing the tide and creating that momentum.” Among William’s audience was an engineer who turns rubbish into paving stones and an activist fighting to save endangered salmon.
Each young champion will receive grants of £7,000 and specialist training to help them realise environmental action plans.
The participants told the Duke about various projects.
Prince William said he was “hugely honoured” to speak to such “brilliant young people doing such fantastic things”.
He added: “There’s a lot of opportunity in the environmental space.
“If young people have a tiny bit of that passion – that you have clearly shown a lot of – then there’s a really good opportunity to find your feet and find a way and do good in the environmental world.
“You are the shining lights of that movement and that interest.
“It allows people to see your path, your journey and go ‘do you know what, I want some of that, I can do that, I’ve got some ideas too.’”
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“Optimism is our main weapon against the climate crisis.”
The Duke of Cambridge recently launched the Earthshot Prize, which will hand out a series of £1million awards over the next decade to solve environmental problems.
UNEP is a global alliance partner of the Duke’s project and shares its mission to incentivise change and inspire the public to safeguard the natural world.