Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

The Royal Visit to Boston / Earthshot Prize

The Prince and Princess of Wales at the 2021 Earthshot Prize ceremony. (Photo by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.K.)

George Harvey

The Earthshot Prize was founded in 2020 by William, now Prince of Wales, and Sir David Attenborough to encourage environmentalism. Every year, awards are given out to winners in each of five categories: Build a Waste-free World, Clean Our Air, Fix Our Climate, Protect and Restore Nature, Revive Our Oceans. This year, the awards were £1 million ($1.21 million) each.

We might note that this year, the awards ceremony itself was unusual. It took place in Boston, Massachusetts, despite the fact that none of the winners were from North America. The Prince and Princess of Wales both attended, but the winners only attended virtually, from the places where they lived and worked. The event will take place in a different place every year and was planned to be in Boston long in advance, so that should not be a big surprise. On the other hand, the reason none of the winners attended is worthy of note: if they had all gone to Boston, travelling would have had a large carbon footprint.

The Winners

  • Build a Waste-free World was awarded to Notpla, a start-up based in the U.K. It makes packaging out of seaweed and plants as an alternative to using plastic. Its products can be used for a wide variety of needs, from holding liquids to coating the insides of food storage containers.

  • The Great Barrier Reef is 1,400 miles long and has many endangered species. (Luka Peternel, CC-BY-SA 4.0,

    The Clean Our Air award went to Mukuru Clean Stoves, a Kenyan organization founded by Charlot Magayi. It provides low-cost, clean-burning stoves that use processed biomass to reduce indoor pollution. They can reduce fuel consumption by up to 60%, while eliminating up to 90% of toxic fumes, compared with open fires.

  • Fix Our Climate was won by 44.01, a business based in Oman. It eliminates CO2 by mineralizing it in peridotite. The process consists of pumping carbonated water into seams of peridotite deep underground. 44.01 plans to eliminate a billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2040.

  • Protect and Restore Nature was awarded to Kheyti, a start-up based in India. It offers what it calls a “Greenhouse-in-a-Box” to protect small farms from the effects of climate change. Kheyti has already helped one thousand farmers increase their crops, while they use less water and pesticides.

  • Revive Our Oceans was won by an Australian organization, Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef. It is made up of a group of indigenous women who combine knowledge of nature and digital technologies to protect and restore the reef. The organization is considered to have cultural significance.

The Earthshot Prize is funded by philanthropists and organizations. The initial budget of £50 million will allow for awards of £1 million to each of the five recipients every year until 2030.

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