In search for solutions to solve the Earth’s top environmental challenges, the United Kingdom’s royals have launched a multi-million-pound prize on December 31, known as the ‘Earthshot Prize.’
In a statement, Prince William said: “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.”
According to the Earthshot Prize website, the organization will be awarding a prestigious prize to five winners per year over the next decade. It hopes to provide at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest problems by 2030.
“Led by Prince William and a global alliance, the Earthshot Prize will inspire the planet’s greatest problem solvers to solve Earth’s greatest problems: the emergencies facing our natural world, “ read a recent post by the official Instagram account of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, based at Kensington Palace.
Greatest environmental problems around the world
The United Nations (UN) Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6) has released a regional summary report on the greatest environmental problems which are assessed according to different regions and territories.
- Latin America and the Carribean
In Latin America, greenhouse gas emissions caused by urbanization and agriculture is rising. The Andean glaciers, which provide vital water resources to 1.4 billion people, are shrinking due to climate change.
- Asia and the Pacific
In Asia and the Pacific, unprecedented economic growth has put pressure on its ecosystems. 91% of the world’s deaths due to natural disasters in the last century took place in this region. Deforestation and water pollution were named as some of the most worrying problems in Southeast Asia. Primary rainforests in the region are projected to be lost by the year 2022, along with the loss of wildlife habitat.
In Africa, land degradation, air pollution and the provision of sanitation and safe drinking water were listed as the main problems on the continent. Every year, close to four million people die due to indoor air pollution in Africa, which is said to be caused by the use of kerosene and biomass for cooking, lighting and heating. 90% of the region’s population is exposed to this health threat.
- North America
Climate change is damaging the environment, human health and well-being and, in some cases, human security in North America. Drought conditions in California and Texas have been exacerbated by global warming by approximately 15 – 20%.
The European region has seen some improvement in environmental changes, especially in air quality.