Prince William’s recently announced Earthshot Prize has a clever name. It draws the imagery of the planet that needs to be saved from the brink. The ‘rich’ prize hopes to find 50 solutions in the next decade that could significantly reverse the scars of global warming.

It seems obvious that the reason for the dire state of the Earth today could well be blamed on ‘Moonshot thinking’ – which pushes the human imagination to achieve outrageously audacious goals. Most of what humans have in recent years – particularly electronic gadgets, packaging, automobiles, jet travel, among others, were indeed part of the moonshot thinking a few decades ago. Perhaps, there’s a need for moonshot thinking again to solve the Earth’s current mess.

It appears many such moonshot solutions are already in the trial stage – like the algae that can eat ocean plastics, hydrogen powered automobile, affordable solar and wind power to replace coal-fired power completely in a decade or two.

While the details of the prize will be known by the end of this year, the prize doesn’t seem to have evoked the kind of buzz Prince William would have expected. Perhaps, one is yet to see the numbers before the words ‘most ambitious prize’.

India could play a significant role in this initiative because the success of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals depends on this country contributing to 50% of the targets.

In recent years Indian science and the start-up eco-system collaboration are able to pilot game-changing and affordable solutions to fight climate change. However, most of these don’t see the light of the day because of stifling regulatory regime, poor eco-system and hugely insufficient risk financing. Many even call India a ‘nation of pilots’.  

The Earthshot prize will initially be run by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but could become an independent organization supported by philanthropists and organizations.

It may be a good idea to combine some of the big prizes that are already at work like the Zayed Sustainability Prize if needed to support more ambitious projects.

Also, a good starting point could be to reach out to @Paul Hawken whose book ‘Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming’ offers the already tested solutions for most of our current problem.

Announcing the award Prince William wrote: “The Earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve.” Clearly, the Earth needs more Moonshot Thinking now if we are to apply brakes to a runaway disaster.

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