Prince William has dealt a thinly veiled blow to billionaires involved in a space tourism race, saying the world’s greatest brains should instead focus on solving the environmental problems facing Earth.
In a BBC interview broadcast Thursday, William appeared to criticize Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, Elon Musk and Briton Richard Branson, whose rival companies are all vying to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel .
“We need some of the greatest brains and minds in the world determined to try to fix this planet, not to try to find the next place to go to live,” William said of the space race.
His comments come after Musk spoke about missions to Mars and Bezos described his maiden space flight in July as part of building a route to space “so that our children and their children can build a future for themselves.” .
“We have to do it to solve the problems here on Earth,” said Bezos, who celebrated the dispatch on Wednesday. Star Trek actor William Shatner in space in his New Shepard spaceship.
Speaking out on green issues has become a major feature of the royal family, and William, 39, follows in the footsteps of his late grandfather Prince Philip, husband to Queen Elizabeth and father Prince Charles .
Charles, the 72-year-old heir to the throne, has been calling for decades to act to stop climate change and environmental damage for decades, long before the problem became mainstream, often ridiculed along the way.
“It’s been a tough road for him. He’s had a really tough course about it, and I think he’s proven he’s way ahead of the curve,” said William.
“But it shouldn’t be that there is now a third generation that needs to increase it even more. For me, it would be an absolute disaster if George [his eldest child]sits here … 30 years from now, whatever, still saying the same thing, because by then it’ll be too late. “
Echoing his father’s message earlier this week, William also said the upcoming COP26 summit of the United Nations climate change conference in Scotland must keep its promises.
“We can’t have smarter speech, smarter words but not enough action,” said William.
The prince’s personal response to the question was to create the Earthshot Prize, which aims to find solutions through new technologies or policies to the biggest environmental problems on the planet.
The top five winners, who will each receive one million pounds ($ 1.4 million), will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday.
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