Britain's Prince William and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, in a joint column for USA Today, are asking whether the Earth can be saved in light of what they call increasing "environmental devastation."
"The environmental devastation we are witnessing – including record-breaking temperatures across the world; wildfires in the American West, Turkey, and Greece; historic flooding in Western Europe, the East Coast of the United States and Central China; and the drought-driven famines in East Africa – is larger than what was feared possible even a year ago," they said.
"For so many, simply breathing air and drinking water is now a health hazard. Many others have seen their food supplies grow scarce and their livelihoods threatened by disruptions to the climate, including in the ocean."
They said "an hour of change and challenge is upon us."
The two men maintained it is a race to save the Earth.
"The science tells us that this is the decade to act – and that waiting is not an option," William and Bloomberg wrote. "Without bold and decisive action, future generations will look back and ask: How could they advance so far in space while leaving their own planet – and their own communities – so vulnerable?
"We must meet this moment with the optimistic spirit of President Kennedy's Moon Shot. To promote that goal, one of us [Prince William] established The Earthshot Prize, a global effort to find and celebrate solutions to the world's greatest environmental challenges over the next 10 years."
The two said the prize is a "new call to action to the world."
"The Earthshot Prize will award five, 1 million-pound [$1.37 million U.S. dollars] prizes each year for the next 10 years to these inspiring innovators and pioneers, providing at least 50 solutions to the world's greatest environmental problems by 2030," they said.
"The race to put a man on the moon created new jobs, launched new companies, and spurred technological innovations that have spread and improved lives all over the planet – long after the Moon Shot mission had been completed.
"The race to defeat climate change and protect the environment will be no different. The same steps that advance technology and cut carbon pollution also create jobs in new industries, while protecting public health and the natural resources we all depend on – changes that will benefit generations to come."
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