Prince William Urges 'Great Minds' to 'Repair This Planet', Not Search Space for 'Next Place to Go'
10:45 GMT 14.10.2021 (Updated: 15:16 GMT 28.05.2023)
Ninety-year-old Hollywood actor William Shatner became the oldest person to travel to space on 13 October as he was ferried as a tourist aboard the suborbital New Shepard spacecraft developed by Jeff Bezos' rocket company, Blue Origin.
has offered his opinion on space tourism, suggesting that entrepreneurs’ efforts would be better aimed at focusing on saving planet Earth.
“We need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” said the Duke of Cambridge on the BBC's Newscast.
The prince was commenting on Wednesday’s news that William Shatner, known for his iconic role as Captain James Kirk in the US television series Star Trek, had blasted off
for a ten-minute sub-orbital flight along with three other individuals on the Blue Origin capsule developed by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The mission on 13 October had followed the company's maiden human flight in July, which included its founder Jeff Bezos of Amazon.
The prince told the host, Adam Fleming, he had "absolutely no interest" in going as high as space.
With billionaire Richard Branson reaching space
in his Virgin Galactic spacecraft VSS Unity in July this year, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk working to develop a game-changer vehicle for space travel and colonisation of Mars, Prince William said there was a "fundamental question" over the carbon cost of space flights. Warning of a "rise in climate anxiety" among young people whose "futures are basically threatened the whole time", the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales said:
"It's very unnerving and it's very, you know, anxiety making."
According to the second in the line of succession to the British throne, adults should "remember how much it meant to be outdoors and what we're robbing those future generations of".
Touching upon the upcoming annual UN climate change conference
, COP26, Prince William warned world leaders against "clever speak, clever words, but not enough action". The prince was speaking ahead of the first Earthshot Prize to reward efforts to save the planet. Five winners will be announced later this month, each receiving £1m. Prince William said that he had taken over the baton of environmental campaigning from his father, Prince Charles, who had a "rough ride" when advocating the urgency of addressing climate change.
"He's had a really rough ride on that, and I think you know he's been proven to being well ahead of the curve, well beyond his time in warning about some of these dangers," he said.
The new Earthshot Prize, launched in October 2020 to search for innovative solutions to problems facing the planet, was inspired by former US President John F. Kennedy's "Moonshot" programme, which culminated in the US Apollo lunar launches and the first man stepping onto the surface of the Moon in 1969.
Speaking alongside UK broadcaster, writer, and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Prince William had told the BBC last year that the world was “at a tipping point”, and he felt “right now it's my responsibility".