(Reuters) – Prince William of Cambridge has criticized billionaires involved in the space tourism race, saying the world’s biggest brains should focus on solving environmental problems facing Earth.
During an interview with the BBC, on Thursday, William appeared to criticize Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, Elon Musk, and Britain’s Richard Branson, whose rival company is vying to usher in a new era of private commercial spaceflight.
“We need some of the best minds in the world focused on trying to fix this planet, not trying to find the next place to live,” William said of the space race.
His comments come after Musk spoke about missions to Mars, and Bezos described his first 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 this to solve problems here on Earth,” said Bezos, who on Wednesday celebrated Star Trek actor William Shatner with space travel aboard his New Shepard spacecraft.
The British royal family working for the land
Talking about environmental issues has become an important feature of the British royal family, and William, 39, is following in the footsteps of his late grandfather, Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, and his father, Prince Carlos.
Carlos, the 72-year-old heir to the throne, has called for decades for action to stop climate change and environmental damage, long before the problem spreads, often facing derision along the way.
“It’s been a tough road for him. He’s had a really tough ride, and I think it showed he’s ahead of the curve,” William said.
“But it shouldn’t be the third generation that comes in now and has to do more. For me, it would be an absolute disaster if George (his eldest son) sat here… about 30 years from now, and we’re still saying the same thing, because by then we’ll be It’s too late.”
Echoing his father’s message earlier this week, William also said the upcoming COP26 summit should be handed over to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland.
“We can’t have smarter words, smart words but we don’t have enough work,” 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 biggest environmental problems on the planet.
The top five winners, who will each receive one million pounds (US$1.4 million), will be announced at a ceremony on October 17.