Charity & Campaigns

Celebrities Offer £1M for Prince William to Add Plant-Based Category to Earthshot Prize

A league of high-profile media figures, including three Oscar winners, have written an open letter to Prince William, head of The Royal Foundation‘s Earthshot Prize, which rewards £1 million to five businesses working on environmental projects so that they can continue their endeavors. One prize last year was awarded to NotPla, innovators in algae-based alternatives to plastic.

The letter urges the organizers to include a new category that rewards innovations in plant-based food for their role in protecting the planet. Along with the request for the establishment of an “Advance a Plant-Based Food System” category, the £1 million prize for this category has been offered by international NGO Generation Vegan.

The open letter begins:

Your Royal Highness Prince William,
Earthshot Prize Council Member Sir David Attenborough was right when he said:
“We must change our diet. The planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters”.
The fact is: we simply cannot fix our planet without changing the way we eat.

The full list of signatories to the letter to Prince William and Earthshot are: actors Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee; Harry Potter; Good Luck to You, Leo Grande), Olivia Colman (The Crown; Broadchurch; The Favourite), Alicia Silverstone (Clueless; Batman & Robin; The Perpetrator), Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall; Dunkirk; Don’t Look Up), Edie Falco (The Sopranos; Nurse Jackie), Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones; Killing Eve), James Moore (Emmerdale); Justina Adorno (Grand Hotel; Roswell, New Mexico; Mayans MC); television personality and music manager, Sharon Osbourne; singer-songwriter Annie Lennox; business leader Deborah Meaden (Dragon’s Den); author, journalist, and environmental activist, George Monbiot; naturalist and TV presenter, Chris Packham; and poet and broadcaster Benjamin Zephaniah.

We must revolutionize our broken food system

The letter continues: “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 revolutionize our broken food system if we want to save our planet.

“The people behind these solutions are not receiving the recognition they deserve, nor the support they need to create systemic change and global impact”

“With innovation in plant-based foods and cultivated meat advancing rapidly, NGOs working to support public and private behavior-change initiatives, and decision-makers at all levels piloting and enacting policies that support a transition to more planet-friendly food systems, the potential to positively transform our world through diet is too great to ignore. Yet the people behind these solutions are not receiving the recognition they deserve, nor the support they need to create systemic change and global impact.

“This is why we’re respectfully asking you to introduce a Sixth Earthshot Prize: Advance a Plant-Based Food System. If you agree, Generation Vegan will provide the £1 Million Earthshot Award prize fund for the inaugural Advance a Plant-Based Food System category winner.”

Prince William, Pierre Paslier and Rodrigo Notpla at the Earthot Prize Board Meeting
Prince William, Pierre Paslier and Rodrigo Notpla at the Earthot Prize Board Meeting © Notpla

2023 could be the year they listen

Generation Vegan, or GenV (previously known as Million Dollar Vegan) has previously carried out campaigns urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to go vegan for Veganuary, with the offer of a million pounds for charity, as well as similar campaigns with the Pope and Donald Trump. Though, with the Earthshot Prize claiming to have similar goals, it appears that another lack of response on this particular occasion would seem especially tone-deaf on the part of the Royal Foundation. Will Prince William in his attempts to appear eco-conscious and align with younger generations, be the first to listen, and take up the offer of this forward-thinking organization?

As we know, animal agriculture is a leading cause of deforestation, habitat destruction, wildlife loss, species extinction, freshwater use, land use, climate breakdown, water pollution, and air pollution. Earthshot Prize council member Sir David Attenborough has already urged the public: “We must change our diet. The planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters.” Perhaps, there is some chance, that the media circus around this event will create enough hype this year, for change to take place in earnest.

Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson, image courtesy of GenV

Says Oscar Winner Emma Thompson: “The food we eat and the way it is produced is possibly the most significant way in which we impact our health and that of the planet. That’s why I support a campaign to support people trying to create a plant-based, human and planet-friendly food system.”

Says Environmentalist Chris Packham: “Meat and dairy are having a huge and detrimental impact on our planet in terms of pollution, climate change, deforestation, and loss of wildlife. But when we eat plants, we reduce these impacts significantly. We need Earthshot to incentivize a plant-powered revolution!”

Says Sharon Osbourne: “Earthshot rewards people who are working to heal our planet so adding a plant-based category is a no-brainer.”

Generation Vegan’s CEO Naomi Hallum concludes: “We are big supporters of the Earthshot Prize, and at GenV we are working towards the exact same aims. However, there seems to be a blind spot when it comes to animal agriculture and its devastating impact on the earth, air, waters, and climate. That’s why we are asking the Earthshot Prize council to introduce this essential sixth prize fund category for 2024, and why we would be delighted to donate the £1 million prize fund to the winner.”

More information on GenV here

More information on Earthshot here

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