“For the next ten years, we’ll award five, one million-pound prizes – one per Earthshot. This will provide at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030. This may seem like a simple idea, but as is often the case, getting to this stage requires a lot of work behind the scenes.
Our goal was to bring critical environmental issues together in a way that everyday people could relate to them. They can often be portrayed as such a crisis – which of course it is – but lacking any hope or positivity for the work that’s being done to tackle it. We wanted to create something that gave people optimism, highlighting the ability of human ingenuity and collective action to bring about change.
I’m fascinated by how the theory of change we developed can influence behaviours in real life. The formula is simple: urgency + optimism = action. But the inverse is also true: urgency + pessimism = despondency.
For six months, we consulted with experts to make sure our five Earthshots were thoroughly grounded in evidence, underpinned by scientifically agreed targets. But importantly, we also worked hard to give them a simple framing. A child should be able to understand them just as easily as a CEO or a scientist.
We also tested our framings with people in six different countries to see which ones made them feel the most optimistic. Language matters here. Less jargon and numbers, more action statements.”
“If people see that change is possible, they’re more likely to feel optimistic and believe that their actions are making a difference.”