Little Building embraces Earthshot awards with projection series

Prince+William+addressing+City+Hall.

Photo: Campbell Parish

Prince William addressing City Hall.

By Chloe Els, Staff Writer

Boston hosted the Earthshot Prize Awards on Friday, celebrating the innovators fighting climate change on an international scale.

In anticipation of the ceremony, Emerson projected a series of images promoting Earthshot across the Boylston Street side of the Little Building—one of three buildings on which the Earthshot marketing team chose to display projections, along with the John F. Kennedy Library and Faneuil Hall.

The marketing team chose the Little Building because of its “history with producing large scale digital projections on the Little Building,” Senior Director of Strategic Communications and Media Relations Michelle Gaseau wrote in a written response to The Beacon.

Additionally, David Howse, the executive director of ArtsEmerson, served as a member of the host committee for the Earthshot Awards and led initiatives in the collaboration between the Earthshot committee and the JFK Library Foundation.

“Mayor Wu’s selection of ArtsEmerson to serve on the Earthshot Prize Host Committee was special because it was a clear recognition of the power the arts have to inspire meaningful change,” Howse wrote in a written statement to The Beacon. 

This year’s prize ceremony represents a local, national, and global event that will help initiate change to promote a healthier planet. Emerson’s part in this project reflects the college’s commitment to both the community and the city,” Gilligan wrote in the initial announcement of the college’s involvement with the Earthshot awards two weeks ago. 

Emerson is working to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. Since 2007, it has decreased net carbon emissions by 27% and transitioned all electrical operations to 100% green power, according to the Emerson College sustainability services website. Despite this progress, the college acknowledges the need for further improvement.

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrived in Boston for their first trip to the U.S. since 2014 this Wednesday, and were welcomed by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in a public event on the newly renovated City Hall Plaza. 

“We are thrilled to have the great honor of hosting this year’s Earthshot awards to advance that same galvanizing commitment to the urgent action necessary to solve climate change and repair our planet,” Mayor Wu said as she welcomed the royal couple to Boston.

The first Earthshot awards ceremony was hosted in London, 2021, making Boston the first American city to host the awards. 

Following Mayor Wu’s speech, Prince William commended her for keeping climate policies as a central issue of her administration. One of Wu’s main goals as mayor is to bring the Green New Deal to Boston to establish a green economy and enact climate justice. This is one of many reasons Prince William chose to bring the Earthshot Awards to Boston.

President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 “Moonshot” challenge to put a man on the moon in 10 years inspired him to establish Earthshot, which aims to repair the planet within a decade with particular focus on ending climate change.

“Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot speech laid down a challenge to American innovation and ingenuity,” the Prince of Wales said, addressing City Hall. “Like President Kennedy, Catherine and I firmly believe that we all have it within us to achieve great things and that human beings have the ability to lead, innovate, and problem solve.”

The Earthshot Prize has five goals: to protect and restore nature, to clean our air, to revive our oceans, to build a waste free world, and to fix our climate. These goals correspond to the five categories of Earthshot winners, who were announced at the Friday award ceremony held at MGM Music Hall.

Indian startup Kheyti won the “Protect and Restore Nature” category for its product called Greenhouse-in-a-Box for small-hold farmers to decrease the amount of water and pesticides needed to grow crops.

The winner of the “Clean Our Air” category was Kenyan company Mukuru Clean Stoves, which invented stoves that burn processed biomass. Biomass releases fewer air pollutants than an open flame or traditional stove, making it a better alternative to wood or coal.

Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef, an Australia-based company, won the “Revive Our Oceans” category for its work training Indigenous women rangers to defend the Great Barrier Reef from climate change.

Notpla, a company in the United Kingdom, won the “Build a Waste-Free World” category. Notpla turns seaweed and plant matter into a biodegradable material that can be used as an alternative to plastic.

The winner of the “Fix Our Climate” category was 44.01 from Oman, in the Middle East. This company mineralizes carbon dioxide in peridotite which permanently removes it from the atmosphere.

Each winner was awarded $1.2 million to support the continuation of their work. A group called the Global Alliance Founding Partners provide funding for the award. Some of the members include the Bezos Earth Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Colman Family Ventures.

While the winners of the Earthshot Prize were not in attendance, famous performers like Billie Eilish, Rami Malek, and Shailene Woodley filled the MGM Music Hall and walked the green carpet. At both the mayoral welcome on Wednesday and the award show on Friday, people waited outside for hours, hoping to catch a glimpse of a royal or celebrity. 

Climate activist Reverend Mariama White-Hammond commented on the star power of the Earthshot awards as she helped welcome the Prince and Princess of Wales to Boston on Wednesday.

“We’re all here to see the big guests of the night,” she said in a speech at City Hall. “But in the midst of it all, I hope we remember that all eight billion of us … we’re fighting for each other and to save all of our lives.”