Prince William’s passion for the environment may have been inspired by his grandfather and father, but was bolstered by his son.
While doing a podcast with Australian actress Cate Blanchett called Climate of Change with Cate Blanchett and Danny Kennedy, the Duke of Cambridge shared: “I think my interest and curiosity was sparked by my grandfather and father, both of whom have had a deep passion and interest in this field for many years. Growing up I was surrounded by this adventure and this idea of exploring the garden and being outside. I used to spend hours climbing trees, digging ditches and all kinds of things, hiding in caves and all kinds of things in front of the yard, so I loved being out in the wild and in the wet.”
He added that this childhood love for the outdoors was nurtured during his gap year spent in Kenya. There he was able to learn from experts about challenges for wildlife and the environment. The Duke of Cambridge has been the royal patron of Tusk since 2005. Tusk began in response to poaching and continues to fund wildlife conservation programs.
Prince William went on to develop the United for Wildlife statement. He was able to unite major financial institutions to stop the illegal trade in wildlife products. Prince William commented on the work to end the illegal trade of 23 billion: “The pressing challenge of the illegal wildlife trade is what we face as a global community. We can no longer afford to let the fight against wildlife crime become a priority for conservationists only. It is an issue for all of us.”
The effort behind #EndWildlifeCrime, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s hashtag, was publicly praised by Prince Charles at an international wildlife trade conference at St James’s Palace: “I can only say how proud I am of the role my older son William has played as a leader in this area, helping to move the issue further up the global agenda, including working with the Chinese government in introducing the ivory ban.”
In 2019, Prince William announced his Earthshot Prize. The aim is to find 50 solutions to the world’s biggest environmental problems over a period of 10 years. In his announcement of the challenge, the Duke of Cambridge said: “We face a clear choice: either we continue as we have been, causing irreparable harm to our planet, or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continued ability to lead, innovate and solve problems. The next decade presents us with one of our greatest tests – a decade of change to fix the Earth.”
The Earthshot Prize winners have been announced, each receiving £1m and the support to make their solution a reality. Prince William also has the Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet series on Discovery+.
As President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Prince William encourages media producers to promote a positive attitude towards protecting the planet and to have programs with climate change messages. In a speech he said: “Now more than ever, program designers have a unique opportunity to ensure that climate change and sustainability remain at the forefront of our collective consciousness. By creating innovative, educational and emotional content for television, writers and producers play a unique role in ensuring the future of our planet is something we all want to talk about.”
Because of his children, Prince William developed a stronger urge to protect the environment. In a documentary Prince William: A Planet for Us All he says: “I really want to make sure George doesn’t turn around in 20 years and say, ‘Are you ahead of your time?’ Because if he does, we’ll be late. I believe it is my duty and our collective responsibility to leave our planet in a stronger position for our children.”
Prince William’s passion for the environment was evident at the Platinum Jubilee. Speaking at the Party at the Palace, Prince William celebrated: “Today, in 2022, as The Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, the urgent need to protect and restore our planet has never been more urgent.”
A self-proclaimed “stubborn optimist,” the Duke of Cambridge ended his speech with: “As we collectively harness the best of humanity and restore our planet, we will protect it for our children, our grandchildren, and future generations. They will be proud of what they have achieved and say, ‘What a wonderful world.’”