The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Prince Charles: It's Time to Solve the 'Human Disaster' of Plastics in the World's Oceans
The Prince of Wales has teamed up with Dame Ellen MacArthur and philanthropist Wendy Schmidt to launch the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize to encourage the world's brightest minds to come up with ideas to end marine litter—an issue described by Charles as an "escalating ecological and human disaster."
The competition has two categories:
1. The $1 million Circular Design Challenge calls for new designs that avoid the generation of small-format plastic packaging waste, such as plastic wrappers, straws and coffee cup lids that are almost never recycled and end up clogging the environment.
2. The $1 million Circular Materials Challenge seeks ways to make all plastic packaging recyclable. For instance, food packaging can be made different materials fused together, making it hard to recycle. The challenge invites innovators to find alternative materials that could be recycled or industrially composted.
Prince Charles has long been outspoken about environmental issues and has been campaigning to end ocean trash for years.
"I was horrified to learn that, according to recent research, we collectively allow as much as 8 million tonnes of plastic to enter the oceans every year," Charles said at a conference in Washington, DC on Thursday.
"Today, almost half of all marine mammals now have plastic in their gut and I know I am not the only person haunted by the tragic images of seabirds, particularly albatrosses, that have been found dead, washed up on beaches after mistaking a piece of plastic for a meal," he added.
"The fact that a recent study estimates that by 2025 there will be one ton of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the sea is not what I call encouraging!"
He pointed out that plastic pollution is a problem that can actually be solved.
"Unlike so many challenges that now confront us, there is a solution readily to hand and, speaking as a grandfather with a new grandchild due to appear in this world in a month's time, I think we probably owe it to everyone else's grandchildren to grasp that solution," he said.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Danielle Nierenberg and Katherine Walla
As the holiday season ramps up for many across the world, Food Tank is highlighting 15 children's books that will introduce young eaters, growers and innovators to the world of food and agriculture. Authors and organizations are working to show children the importance — and fun — of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, growing their own produce, and giving food to others in need.
By Lauren Wolahan
For the first time ever, the UN is building out a roadmap for curbing carbon pollution from agriculture. To take part in that process, a coalition of U.S. farmers traveled to the UN climate conference in Madrid, Spain this month to make the case for the role that large-scale farming operations, long criticized for their outsized emissions, can play in addressing climate change.
They're prepared from puréed acai berries — which are fruits grown in Central and South America — and served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, or granola.
By Elliott Negin
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' recent decision to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reminded the world just how transformative they have been. Without them, we wouldn't have smartphones or electric cars. But it's their potential to store electricity generated by the sun and the wind at their peak that promises to be even more revolutionary, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.