Prince William 'optimistic' something can be done about climate change

Prince William says he’s ‘optimistic’ that something can be done about climate change as he appears on Cate Blanchet’s podcast and fondly recalls how he ‘spent hours climbing trees while growing up’

Prince William has told actress Cate Blanchett of his ‘stubborn optimism’ that the climate crisis can be halted and how he wants to see more women at the helm of the solutions.

The future King appeared to be echoing his father Charles’ warnings about the looming environmental catastrophe while speaking with the starlet on a new podcast.

William said he believes that ‘huge strides’ can be made in tackling environmental problems through ‘game changing’ initiatives such as his Earthshot Prize, which will award five £1million prizes annually over the next decade to individuals, charities, companies and even countries spearheading practical ways to save the planet. 

He also fondly recalled how he ‘spent hours climbing trees while growing up’, in a candid moment of reflection from the duke. 

When Blanchett said he appeared ‘quite hopeful’ that we may be able to ‘work our way out of what seems to be a crisis’, William replied by quoting Christiana Figueres, chair of Earthshot’s board of trustees, saying he felt like a ‘stubborn optimist’.

He added: ‘She’s given me a lot of hope that this can happen and I believe it, and I’m seeing it with my own eyes. It’s really inspiring, it’s really hopeful. And I do believe we can make huge strides. 

Undated handout photo issued by Kensington Palace of the Duke of Cambridge (centre) with Danny Kelly and Cate Blanchett

Prince William has told actress Cate Blanchett of his ‘stubborn optimism’ that the climate crisis can be halted and how he wants to see more women at the helm of the solutions 

Joining Prince William on the series of podcasts include Mary Robinson, Adam McKay, Katy Milkman, Imogen Heap, Rutger Bregman, Jeraiza Molina, Agamemnon Otero, Becky Paisley and more, as part of the Audible Original podcast series, Climate of Change with Cate Blanchett and Danny Kennedy, launching exclusively on Audible today.

Across six episodes, listeners will hear long-term friends, award-winning actor, producer and environmental advocate, Cate Blanchett and climate entrepreneur and activist, Danny Kennedy, explore eco-anxiety and optimism.

Leaning into Danny’s experience in clean energy, the pair raise awareness of the emerging technological revolution that’s offering hope in the face of the unfolding climate crisis. Throughout the series, Cate and Danny speak directly to visionaries and trendsetters who are making innovative strides to turn the tide on climate change, from the Navajo Nation in Arizona to the Australian Outback.

Prince William joins Cate and Danny in Episode 2 ‘The Disruptive Decade’ to give an exclusive update about his ambitious Earthshot Prize since the first winners were announced last year. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’, which united millions of people around the goal of reaching the moon, The Earthshot Prize is a global environmental Prize and platform to discover, accelerate and scale ground-breaking eco-solutions to repair and regenerate the planet.

‘I really do think it can be done in much quicker time than we anticipate because the solutions are out there. There are real solutions to these problems.

‘What I’d love to see personally, is I’d like to see more women-led solutions and more indigenous community-led solutions.’ 

Speaking to the Climate of Change podcast from Audible, hosted by Blanchett, a member of the Earthshot Prize Council, and climate entrepreneur Danny Kennedy, who nominated a number of projects for the competition, William said his appreciation of the natural world was ‘piqued’ by watching David Attenborough programmes and by his father and grandfather’s ‘passion’ for the countryside.

He described boyhood memories of climbing trees, digging ditches and being out in the ‘wild and the wet’.

The duke travelled to the Bahamas last month where he visited the winners of the revive our oceans category – the Coral Vita project which grows coral on land to replant in oceans, giving new life to dying marine habitat.

Asked about his interest in the natural world, he said Sir David Attenborough’s documentaries had revealed there was a ‘wider world out there to explore’ when he was younger.

He added: ‘And I think my grandfather, my father, both kind of having a deep passion and interest in this area for many years, has sort of piqued my interest and my curiosity.

‘So growing up, I was surrounded by kind of this adventure and this idea of exploring and being out in the garden. I used to spend hours climbing trees, digging ditches and all sorts of things – hiding in dens and all sorts round the garden.

‘So I used to love being out in the sort of wild and the wet.’            

During the program, he spoke of how a trip to Kenya as a teenager really gave him first-hand experience of the kind of problems the natural world now faces on a global level.

‘To get your head around what’s going on,’ he observed on the show, ‘is pretty mind-blowing… how can we possibly fix this?’

Later on in the show, the Prince discussed with Cate and podcast co-host and environmental activist, Danny Kennedy innovative ways to protect cities like Sydney and London, from rising seas. 

Prince William said that the science involved in a new idea, ‘living seawalls,’ was simple and effective.

The concept involves using panels on sea walls in order to mimic natural habitat – like rock pools and mangrove roots.

Dr Katie Duffoon of the Sydney Institute of Marine was a finalist in the Earthshot Prize for the ‘Living Seawalls’ technology.

Blanchett, who is an Earthshot Prize Council Member, has already been commissioned to produce another season of the six-episode Climate of Change podcast.

‘Growing up I spent hours climbing trees’: Prince William recalled being inspired after watching the famous documentary’s from natural historian David Attenborough and spending a lot time ‘playing in the garden’ as a child. Pictured in September 1995 with late mother Princess Diana and brother Prince Harry

Prince approved: Prince William said that the science involved in a new idea, ‘living seawalls,’ was simple and effective to protect cities from rising sea levels

Cate, who is an Earthshot Prize Council Member, has already been commissioned to produce another season of the six-episode Climate of Change podcast

The inaugural Earthshot Prize ceremony was staged last October at Alexandra Palace in London.

The ceremony saw £1million in prize money presented to each of the five category winners – protect and restore nature; clean our air; revive our oceans; build a waste-free world; and fix our climate – and organisers have said if their ideas are realised by 2030 it would improve life for all.

William said a number of the winners had already gone from strength to strength with their projects.

He highlighted how he would like to see one of those featured, the Australian Living Sea Walls project, brought to the UK and established in the Thames.

The company incorporates ecologically friendly principles into new and existing constructions that can have significant biodiversity benefits.

Sydney has already seen a 36 per cent increase in species in and around the new structures than plain, unmodified seawalls, with as many as 85 species of invertebrates, seaweeds and fish living and growing on the panels.

He said they did a ‘fantastic job’ and the ‘science behind it is simple but effective’.

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