By Maxwell Bevington
Boston University News Service
The Prince and Princess of Wales stepped foot on American soil on Nov. 30 for the first time in eight years as the royal couple gave out the Earthshot Prize award in Boston, which is an organization founded by Prince William in 2020 that awards grants to entrepreneurs who are working to solve climate change and other environmental issues.
Prince William and Princess Catherine started their trip to Boston with a visit to City Hall for an event with the city’s mayor, Michelle Wu. The couple and Wu made a public appearance at City Hall Plaza despite rain that evening.
Prince William thanked Wu and commended the crowd of “hardy Bostonians” who had shown up to get a glimpse of him and the Princess during his opening remarks.
Later that night, the couple attended the Celtics game against the Miami Heat at TD Garden.
On Friday the Royal Couple officially gave out the Earthshot award grants at a ceremony held at MGM Music Hall next to Fenway Park.
Prince William explained why the award is given in Boston during his ceremony at City Hall on Wednesday as the Earthshot prize was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s famous moonshot speech from 1962 where he declared America’s intention to land on the moon.
“President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot speech laid down a challenge to American innovation and ingenuity,” Prince William said. “We choose to go to the moon, he said, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. It was that moonshot speech that inspired me to launch The Earthshot Prize, with the aim of doing the same for climate change as President Kennedy did for the space race.”
During the award ceremony Friday night, five prizes of 1 million British Pounds, equal to about 1.2 million dollars, were awarded based on the five categories of “Protect and Restore Nature,” “Clean our Air,” “Revive our Oceans,” “Build a Wastefree World” and “Fix our Climate.”
The prize winners came from all across the world including Kenya, Australia and Oman.
44.01, the Oman-based company that won the award for “Fix our Climate” is working to create safe and cost-effective ways to store carbon-dioxide with mineralization, in which carbon dioxide is pumped deep underground into a type of rock called peridotite where it can safely decompose.
After winning the award, 44.01’s founder, Talal Hasan, said the “answers to the problems our planet faces can often be found in the natural world.”
Other winners included a business made up of indigenous women from Australia who are working to revive the Great Barrier Reef and a female-founded business that provides clean and safe cooking stoves for families in Kenya.
Prince William also met with President Joe Biden during his visit to Boston as the two visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester on Friday. Biden and Prince William talked for 30 minutes and had a “warm, friendly, and substantive” discussion according to Royal officials.