The Earthshot prize initiative was set up to look for innovative solutions to address significant environmental challenges that the world is facing and reduce emissions.
Over 1,000 worldwide applications were considered. From the 15 finalists, the judges panel, which included Prince William and Sir David Attenborough, selected the five winners. The winners were all chosen for their ‘ground-breaking solutions’.
Clear our Air, Mukuru Clean Stoves, Kenya
Set up to provide cleaner-burning stoves to reduce unhealthy indoor pollution and provide a safer way to cook, these stoves use processed biomass made from charcoal, wood and sugarcane, which burns cleaner. It creates 90% less pollution than an open fire, 70% than a traditional stove. Today, 200,000 people in Kenya use these stoves, saving millions in fuel costs. Future plans include creating an even cleaner stove that burns ethanol. In 10 years, they plan to reach 10 million people all over Africa.
Protect and Restore Nature, Kheyti, India
A pioneering solution for local smallholder farmers to reduce costs, increase yields and protect livelihoods in a country on the frontlines of climate change. It is a Greenhouse-in-a-Box which offers shelter from unpredictable elements and destructive pests. The results are dramatic. Plants in the greenhouse require 98% less water than those outdoors and yields are seven-times higher. Today, 1,000 farms have a Kheyti greenhouse, and by 2027, Kheyti wants 50,000 farmers to have a Greenhouse-in-a-Box.
Revive our Oceans, Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
A third of reef corals and 37% of shark and ray species are facing extinction. While animal species are declining, ocean plastic is booming. This solution is to create a ‘bubble curtain’ by pumping air through a tube that runs along the riverbed. The upward current pushes plastic to the surface, and the flow of the river, combined with the diagonal placement of the curtains, funnels the plastic waste into a catchment area where it can be recovered. The plastic is then collected, processed, and re-used. Bubble curtains remove 86% of river plastic before it reaches the sea.
Build a Waste-free World, Notpla, United Kingdom
Creating an alternative to plastic packaging from seaweed and plant, Notpla is totally natural and biodegradable, and can be used to create a range of packaging products, such as a bubble to hold liquids, coating for food containers, and paper for the cosmetic and fashion industry. This year, Notpla has made over 1 million takeaway food boxes for Just Eat, with the potential to replace over 100 million plastic coated containers in Europe in the future.
Fix our Climate, 44.01, Oman
Has developed an innovative technique to turn CO2 into rock, and permanently store it underground. Removing carbon from the atmosphere is imperative if we are to avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change. Once captured, this CO2 has to be stored, or ideally eliminated. 44.01 does this by mineralising CO2 in peridotite, removing it from the atmosphere forever – safely, quickly and cost-effectively.
These Earthshot solutions prove that we can overcome our planet’s greatest challenges. And by supporting and scaling them we can change our future one step at a time.
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Pauline Meechan, Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth