Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

Prince William has taken a thinly veiled push against the billionaires involved in a space tourism race, saying that the world’s biggest brains should instead be focused on solving the environmental problems facing the Earth.

During a BBC interview aired on Thursday, William appeared to criticize Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, Elon Musk and Britain’s Richard Branson, whose rival companies are all fighting to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel.

“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds determined to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” William said of the space race.

His comments come after Musk talked about missions to Mars, and Bezos described his initial space flight in July as part of building a path to space “so our children and their children can build a future.”

“We have to do it to solve the problems here on Earth,” said Bezos, who on Wednesday celebrated sending Star Trek actor William Shatner into space in his New Shepard spacecraft.

Prince William has taken a hit against billionaires who shoot for space.
Prince William has taken a hit against billionaires who shoot for space. Credit: AP

Talking about green issues has become an important element of the British royal family, and William, 39, follows in the footsteps of his late grandfather Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband and his father, Prince Charles.

Charles, the 72-year-old heir to the throne, has for decades called for action to stop climate change and environmental damage, long before the issue became mainstream, and often under ridicule along the way.

“It has been a tough road for him. He has had a really hard ride on it and I think he has proven to be far ahead of the curve, ”said William.

“But it should not be that there is now a third generation that will increase it even more.

“To me, it would be an absolute disaster if George (his eldest child) sits here … in about 30 years, and still says the same thing, because then we’re too late.”

Actor William Shatner has boarded a rocket ship Blue Origin
Actor William Shatner has boarded a rocket ship Blue Origin Credit: Delivered

In an echo of his father’s message earlier this week, William also said the forthcoming UN climate conference COP26 summit in Scotland should deliver.

“We can have no more wise speech, wise words, but not enough action,” William said.

The Prince’s personal answer to the question has been to create the Earthshot Award, which aims to find solutions through new technologies or policies to the planet’s biggest environmental problems.

The first five winners, who will each raise STG1 million ($ A1.85 million), will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday.


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