The Duke of Cambridge has called on society to inspire “optimism, confidence and enthusiasm” in the next generation to find solutions to protect the Earth.
William’s comment came as he and Kate were joined by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, television presenter Steve Backshall and double-Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover at an educational initiative inspired by the duke’s Earthshot Prize.
At Kew Gardens the guests and pupils from the Heathland School in Hounslow took part in a series of fun and thought-provoking activities as part of the Generation Earthshot event.
The duke said: “Education is such an important part of protecting our planet.
“We must inspire in the next generation the optimism, confidence and enthusiasm to chase those solutions and to continue building a more sustainable future.
“We know that young children already identify the climate as one of their biggest worries, and Generation Earthshot aims to educate and encourage them that together we can find the answers.
“Children can be uniquely creative and I can’t wait to see some of the ideas that are shared with us.”
Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza commissioned her Big Ask survey of young people which published their responses last month with worries about the environment raised by youngsters.
Four in 10 children said the environment is one of their main priorities and concerns for the future, with the second most common worry being reported was whether they will grow up to benefit from a healthy planet.
Generation Earthshot aims to inform children’s interest in the environment and encourage students and their teachers around the world to generate ideas to solve the world’s greatest environmental challenges.
The Mayor of London said: “It’s been great to work with the bright young leaders of our future today to develop ideas on how to address the climate and environmental crisis.
“I want London to be a zero-pollution city so that no child has to grow up in our city breathing toxic air and I’m determined that we continue to tackle the twin dangers of air pollution and the climate emergency so that we can deliver a future that’s greener, fairer and more prosperous for everyone.”
The Earthshot Prize is an ambitious awards project launched by the duke to recognise ideas, innovations and solutions that combat climate change and help protect the environment.
Winners in five categories will be named during a ceremony on Sunday and each will receive £1 million to develop their projects.
William and Kate will attend the star-studded ceremony, hosted by Clara Amfo and Dermot O’Leary, at Alexandra Palace in north London.
Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and KSI are among those performing and actors Dame Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, David Oyelowo and Liverpool FC striker Mo Salah will be handing out the awards.
The awards come ahead of the UN Climate Change conference Cop26 being staged in Glasgow in a few weeks which the Queen, the Cambridges and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will attend.