The Earthshot Prize, founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2020, is a global environmental prize to discover, accelerate, and scale ground-breaking solutions to repair and regenerate the planet. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot which united millions of people around the goal of reaching the moon, The Earthshot Prize aims to catalyse an Earthshot challenge to urgently encourage and scale innovative solutions that can help put the world firmly on a trajectory towards a stable climate, where communities, oceans, and biodiversity thrive in harmony by 2030.
The five Earthshot challenges are:
- Protect and Restore Nature;
- Clean Our Air;
- Revive Our Oceans;
- Build a Waste-free World;
- and Fix Our Climate.
In 2022, ICRI was selected to be an official nominator for the ‘Revive Our Oceans’ Earthshot, recognizing ICRI’s longstanding work in ocean conservation, and specifically the protection of coral reefs and associated ecosystems.
Following a rigorous, 10-month selection process, a panel of advisors with expertise in science, conservation, innovation, investment, economics, politics and activism selected fifteen Finalists from more than 1,000 nominations.
One of these finalists is Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia; an inspiring women-led programme that combines 60,000 years of indigenous knowledge with digital technologies to protect land and sea.
Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia, and its coastlines, are under constant threat as a result of climate change and local pressures with increasingly regular bushfires damaging the local flora and fauna. Indigenous rangers act locally to respond to these threats, combining ancient knowledge, passed down from generation to generation, with modern tools, such as drones that monitor changes in coral reef status, forest fires and land degradation.
In the state of Queensland where the GBR is located, only 20% of indigenous rangers are women. The Queensland Indigenous Women Rangers Network has thus spent the past four years building the next generation of women rangers to increase female representation.
The programme has trained over 60 women, encouraging new conservation approaches by sharing knowledge and telling stories, and has proved impactful beyond state borders, with members of the network becoming rangers or working in conservation in Queensland and in other regions.
Their nomination as a finalist for the Earthshot Prize 2022 recognises the vital impact of their work, the importance of the data they collect in giving insights into one of the most important and endangered ecosystems on the planet, the GBR. The rangers are also custodians of the land, which has enabled the protection of sites of cultural and spiritual significance.
With greater support through the Earthshot Prize, this impactful programme could train indigenous women rangers across national borders, helping repair aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems from Hawaii to Nepal and Tanzania.