2023 Earthshot Prize: Winners? Yes. Losers? No

The 2023 Earthshot Prize was given to only five organizations, but we are all winners because of it.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The 2023 Earthshot Prize was given to only five organizations, but we are all winners because of it. Image: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The 2023 Earthshot Prize was given to only five organizations, but we are all winners because of it.

This autumn, the influential 2023 Earthshot Prize awarded $1.2 million each to five organizations developing groundbreaking solutions to major environmental problems. Prince William presented the prizes in Singapore, recognizing the winners’ impactful work to protect nature, improve air and ocean health, reduce waste, and address climate change.

The ambitious Earthshot Prize was launched in 2020 under Prince William’s Royal Foundation. The name draws inspiration from former US President John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” program in the 1960s, which rallied efforts to get astronauts to the moon. Similarly, the Earthshot Prize aims to drum up global support and funding for environmental protection through 2030.

The prize ultimately intends to fund 50 innovations over ten years. Each year, five winners receive £1 million to advance their ideas. The monetary award provides critical scale-up funds for the small organizations selected. But the recognition also draws public attention to environmental solutions at a time when climate change threats loom.

An accomplished Council oversaw the 2023 Earthshot Prize Earthshot Prize’s direction. It included leaders like Christiana Figueres, former UN Climate Chief who helped broker the Paris Climate Agreement. The Council screens an initial pool of nominations to 15 finalists across five categories. Prince William and the Council then select the five annual winners with the most significant potential impacts.

The category themes highlight areas requiring urgent attention: Protecting and Restoring Nature, Cleaning the Air, Reviving the Oceans, Building a Waste-Free World, and Fixing the Climate. The 2023 Earthshot Prize winners announced are pioneering solutions in each sphere.

See also 2022 Earthshot Prize Winners.

Acción Andina won the nature protection prize for its work defending South America’s fragile Andean forests. These mountainous ecosystems harbor incredible biodiversity but face land clearing and climate change threats. Acción Andina collaborates with local groups across Peru, Bolivia, and Chile to map, monitor, and conserve these forests long-term. The Earthshot Prize funding will advance research and tools to scale their conservation efforts.

Hong Kong startup GRST took home the 2023 Earthshot Prize Clean Our Air award. GRST developed an innovative method to recover and recycle materials from spent lithium-ion batteries. Their proprietary process extracts battery components for reuse rather than sending them to landfills. Widespread adoption could significantly reduce the need for destructive mining of new materials. The Prize will help GRST make their recycling solution commercially available to support the transition to cleaner electric vehicles.

WildAid Marine Program won in the 2023 Earthshot Prize Revive Our Oceans category for building partnerships that protect marine environments. Their collaborative approach works with governments, communities, and industry to safeguard priority ocean habitats and species. WildAid fosters sustainable fishing practices and combats illegal fishing and wildlife trade threatening marine life. The organization plans to use its prize funding to expand efforts globally, including protecting fragile but exceedingly important ‘blue carbon’ coastal ecosystems like mangroves.

S4S Technologies from India took home the 2023 Earthshot Prize Waste Reduction award. Their solar-powered food dehydrators help Indian farmers preserve excess produce that might otherwise spoil post-harvest. Dehydrating crops like fruits and vegetables extends their shelf life for months without refrigeration. S4S will now expand its food preservation tools across India to combat food insecurity. Their innovation reduces food waste while supporting rural farmers with extra income streams.

Finally, the 2023 Earthshot Prize Fix Our Climate prize went to Boomitra for their work on nature-based carbon removal. Boomitra created a marketplace to incentivize regenerative agriculture practices that enhance soil health and draw down atmospheric carbon. Their platform connects corporate carbon offsetters with farmers transitioning to climate-smart cultivation techniques. Boomitra will use the Earthshot Prize to further develop this model of financing the widespread adoption of natural climate solutions.

The innovators expressed gratitude for accelerating their solutions with the Earthshot Prize funding. Beyond the financial award, the global recognition also focuses major international attention on critical environmental work.

The ambitious Earthshot Prize launched just three years ago but has already catalyzed impact and inspired action. The Earthshot Prize ultimately aims to fund 50 critical climate solutions over the next decade. If realized, the innovations supported could go down in history as driving progress in restoring our planet.

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