Prince William urges leaders to take action against climate change in his first Ted Talk

Prince William has just accomplished a first.

The Duke of Cambridge gave his first Ted Talk on Saturday as a guest speaker during Ted’s virtual Countdown Global Launch, an initiative to “champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis.”

Akin to the theme of the event, he spoke about how fast our Earth was changing due to climate change and urged leaders to take action. The Duke of Cambridge appeared during the fourth hour of the six-hour event where he appeared wearing a blue shirt paired with jeans and was seated by a large oak tree. Prince William opened his talk by sharing the long history of his royal family.

“I’m simply the latest in a line that can be traced back generations. This oak tree is close to Windsor Castle, which has been home to my family for over 900 years. Thirty-nine monarchs have lived here and enjoyed these beautiful surroundings,” Prince William said before expressing his awe at how some of the trees sprouted during William the Conqueror’s reign in 1066

The Duke marveled at how much the world has been able to accomplish through innovation, like air travel and vaccines, but also noted that humankind’s impact on the globe is speeding up climate change.

“Over my grandmother’s lifetime, the last 90 years or so, our impact has accelerated so fast that our climate, oceans, air, nature and all that depends on them are in peril. This oak has stood here for centuries, but never has it faced a decade like this,” Prince William said.

He said given the scientific evidence, it is imperative that we make change during this decade because if we don’t, “the damage that we have done will be irreversible” and its effects won’t only harm future generations, but it will have an affect on us now.

“This damage will not be felt equally by everyone. It is the most vulnerable, those with the fewest resources and those who have done the least to cause climate change who will be impacted the most,” he said.

Prince William noted that if we act now, our lives will all be better and healthier by 2030.

The Duke of Cambridge also pointed to how world leaders have have quickly come together and mobilized to handle the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to illustrate that we can do the same when it comes to climate change.

“We built hospitals overnight, repurposed factories, poured billions into the search for a vaccine and better treatments,” he said.

Prince William’s talk comes on the heels of his Earthshot Prize launch Thursday, which is a £50 million (about $65 million) prize awarded to individuals, teams, collaborators, scientists, activists and governments to name a few that come up with evidence-based solutions for five “Earthshots.” The categories are protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world and fix our climate. The prize will be awarded every year starting from 2021 until 2030.

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