LONDON – Prince William delivered an obvious blow in the Billionaires Space Race on Thursday, saying the world’s greatest minds should focus more on saving the earth than looking beyond our planet’s horizon.
In one (n Interview with the BBC which aired early Thursday, the Duke of Cambridge warned of a “rise in fear of the climate” among young people around the world whose “fundamental future” is threatened by the climate crisis.
“We need some of the best minds and minds in the world who are focused on fixing this planet and not trying to find the next place to live,” said 39-year-old William.
A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge told NBC News they had nothing more to add.
The king’s comments came just a day after Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest person to fly into space and traveled aboard the Blue Origin rocket and capsule developed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos became.
Shatner said Thursday the trip reinforced his belief that people need to take better care of the planet.
“It’s so fragile,” said Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk on the Star Trek original series, on NBC’s exclusive TODAY show.
“The fragility of this planet – the catastrophic event to come, and we all need to clean up that act now,” he added.
The actor previously pointed out concerns about billionaires like Bezos, Elon Musk and British mogul Richard Branson using their wealth to invest in commercial space rather than social causes.
“It’s their money,” he told NBC News in a July interview. “You can do what you want with it.”
Bezos, the richest man in the world, described his own first space flight as part of building a road into space “so that our children and their children can build a future”.
“We have to do this to solve the problems here on earth,” he said in July.
But William pushed for a more informed approach. It is “crucial to focus on it [planet] instead of giving up and traveling to space to think about solutions for the future, “he told the BBC.
William has had an active environmental agenda as part of his royal duties, as have other members of the royal family.
His father, Prince Charles, did decades of environmental work.
“It’s been a tough road for him. He’s had a really tough ride with it and I think he’s way ahead of the curve, ”William told the BBC.
The Duke said it would be “an absolute disaster” if his own son, Prince George, “sat here and talked about saving the planet in 30 years”.
William created the Earthshot Prize, which aims to find solutions to the planet’s problems through new technology or guidelines. The first five winners, each raising $ 1.4 million, will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday.
The interview also takes place as world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of the month for COP26, the United Nations climate change conference in 2021.
Queen Elizabeth and other royals will attend the summit, which is considered the make-or-break for the global climate fight.
“We can’t speak smarter, clever words, but not do enough,” said William.
But US Climate Commissioner John Kerry has dampened expectations for the conference, admitting in an interview published Thursday with The Associated Press that talks are likely to end with nations that have not yet met their emissions reduction targets.
Reuters contributed to this report.