Major environmental initiative, the Earthshot Prize, founded by Prince William, has invited plant-based experts to be Official Nominators for the 2024 awards.

The Prince of Wales founded the awards in 2020, with the aim of turning ‘the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism by celebrating the people and places driving change’.

There are five ‘Earthshots’ (or goals), which the awards seek to address; to protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix our climate.

Each year between 2021 and 2030, an awards ceremony honours winners in five categories, giving them £1million in prize funding to be used to support and scale innovations which address the five Earthshots.

Earlier this year the awards were contacted by vegan organisation GenV, which pointed out a major omission from Earthshot – the acknowledgement of how harmful animal agriculture is on the planet.

Earthshot Prize sent open letter

The organisation sent an open letter to Prince William calling on the royal to advance a plant-based food system.

According to the letter: “Producing food through animals is inefficient, wasteful, dangerous, and driving us towards climate catastrophe.

“It is the cause of unimaginable and unnecessary suffering for billions of animals, of zoonotic diseases, and dangerous antibiotic-resistant diseases.

“Furthermore, it works against every Earthshot goal on your list. That’s why we must revolutionise our broken food system if we want to save our planet.

“Animal agriculture uses 80 per cent of all farmland and 41% of all freshwater. It also produces nearly 60 per cent of agricultural emissions, and it is the leading cause of wildlife extinction, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, yet it produces less than 18 per cent of all calories consumed globally.

“At the present rate of growth, it will be responsible for half of the world’s greenhouse gas by 2030.”

A suggestion

The letter, which was co-signed by a number of vegan celebrities including Alicia Silverstone, Olivia Colman, Mark Rylance, and Benjamin Zephaniah among others., made a suggestion.

It recommended the prizes should add a sixth Earthshot relating to innovation in plant-based food, and even offered the additional £1 million it would cost to add the vegan category. This suggestion to add a sixth category, which would be called Advance a Plant-Based Food System, has not yet been realised.

However, a conversation has been ongoing between the prize and GenV, with GenV CEO Naomi Hallum saying: “We would like to thank Earthshot Prize for recognizing the need to elevate plant-based solutions, and taking action to ensure they are included in the 2024 awards.”And progress has been made. According to GenV: “[Earthshot] has answered our call to nurture a planet-friendly, plant-based food system, and they’ve invited GenV to be an official nominator in the Protect and Restore Nature award category!”

The organisation added: “We will be nominating projects, campaigns, and organizations that work to Protect and Restore Nature and we can’t wait to receive all your suggestions. Who knows? In 2024, one of them could win the £1 million prize to scale up and give the Earth a shot!”

In addition, GenV has been asked to choose two plant-based experts to join the judging panel for the Protect and Restore Nature category – these will be Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore and scientist Hannah Ritchie, deputy editor of Our World in Data.

Climate action for the future

The fervour for a plant-based future is further stoked by the passion of youth climate activists. Young voices are echoing the urgency of this transition, recognizing that a plant-based food system is not just a choice but a necessity.

Greta Thunberg, a dedicated youth climate activist, once said: “When we think about the villains of the climate crisis, of course we think about the fossil fuel companies. But agriculture and land use together are about one-quarter of our emissions. This is huge.”

She added: “If we change towards a plant-based diet, we could save up to eight billion tonnes of CO2 every single year. We could feed ourselves on much less land, and nature could recover.”

Original source: https://www.veganfoodandliving.com

Prince William urged to include a plant-based category in Earthshot Prize