Prince William has dealt a lightly veiled blow to billionaires involved in a space tourism race, saying the world’s biggest brains should focus on solving the environmental problems facing Earth.
During a BBC interview broadcast on Thursday, William appeared to criticize Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, Elon Musk, and Britain’s Richard Branson, whose rival companies are vying to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel.
“We need some of the best brains and minds in the world focused on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go live,” William said of the space race.
His comments come after Musk has spoken about missions to Mars and Bezos described his maiden space flight in July as part of building a path to space “so that our children and their children can build a future.”
“We need to do that to solve the problems here on Earth,” said Bezos, who celebrated sending on Wednesday Star trek actor William Shatner into space in his New Shepard spaceship.
Talking about ecological issues has become an important feature of the Royal Family, and William, 39, is following 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 called for decades to take action to stop climate change and environmental damage, long before the problem becomes widespread, and he often faces ridicule along the way.
“It’s been a tough road for him. He’s had a really rough ride on it, and I think it has shown that he is way ahead of the curve,” William said.
“But it shouldn’t be that there is a third generation that has to increase even more. For me, it would be an absolute disaster if George [his eldest child] He’s sitting here … in about 30 years whatever, still saying the same thing, because by then we’ll be too late. “
In an echo of his father’s message earlier this week, William also said that the upcoming COP26 summit of the United Nations conference on climate change in Scotland had to be delivered.
“We can’t have smarter speech, smart words but not enough action,” William said.
The prince’s personal response to the issue has been to create the Earthshot Prize, which aims to find solutions through new technologies or policies to the greatest environmental problems on the planet.
The first five winners, who will each receive one million pounds ($ 1.4 million), will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday.