A global environmental prize launched by Britain’s Prince William will host its first awards ceremony in Singapore on Nov 7. The Earthshot Prize is designed to help scale innovative projects that address climate change and protect the planet, and will award five winners with US$1 million. It will also hold a week of “special events and local activations”, said the organisation’s chief executive, Catherine Jones.
The organisers said the event will feature performances by world-renowned musicians and artists, along with “a green carpet to welcome celebrities and dignitaries”. It will focus on young people, who are “at the heart” of the prize, as they are likely to face the biggest challenges from climate change in their lifetime. The prize is supported by Temasek Trust, investment company Temasek, decarbonisation investment platform GenZero, the non-profit conservation organisation Conservation International and Standard Chartered Bank.
This year’s ceremony will also include the launch of a new short film competition, which is expected to attract submissions from around the world. The shortlist will feature works that explore the themes of the prize, and it will be judged by a panel comprising academic Khoo Gaik Cheng; filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi; and artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen. The winner will receive a production services package worth SGD15,000 from Shooting Gallery Asia and an online, audio post and DCP package, and audio final mix and DCP feature from Mocha Chai Laboratories.
In addition to the main prize, there are five other special prizes. The best Singaporean essay, which is published in the second issue of the journal, will win SGD8,000; while the best student paper will be awarded SGD20,000. The best Singaporean article is titled ‘Why estimates of peat burned in the fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan are unreliable and why it matters’ and was authored by Timothy C. Jessup and colleagues from the National University of Singapore.
The NUS Singapore History Prize, which is open to works dealing with the nation’s history broadly construed (including pre-1819), has a similar remit. This prize, which was mooted by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani in a Straits Times column, aims to stimulate engagement with the country’s history and to encourage a sense of shared imagination among Singaporeans. Its shortlist features books with a personal slant, such as Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Gelam (2019, available here), which sheds light on the little-known past of Gedung Kuning, or Yellow Mansion, at Kampong Glam.
A third special prize, for best videography, is backed by the NUS School of Continuing Education and Professional Development. This prize will see the winning entry be featured in a series of short films produced by a team from the school and aired on the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). The other three winning entries will each receive a cash award of SGD10,000. The videos are titled, The Other Side of the Story, Those Who Know, and How Did We Get Here?. The full list can be found on the website of the NUS History Prize.