Prince William says he has ‘absolutely no interest’ in space tourism and billionaires should focus on repairing the planet

Prince William talks
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge. Andrew Milligan – WPA Pool/Getty Images
  • Prince William said “the world’s greatest brains and minds” should focus on repairing the planet.
  • William said his environmental concerns mean he has “absolutely no interest” in going to space.
  • He also told BBC Newscast’s Adam Fleming there is a rise of “climate anxiety” among young people.

Prince William says those engaging in space tourism should focus on saving planet Earth first.

The 39-year-old told BBC Newscast’s Adam Fleming he has “absolutely no interest” in going to space himself and hopes the great minds of the world will work to take environmental action.

Speaking to the BBC News chief political correspondent and podcast host about the current surge in space tourism, fueled by billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Sir Richard Branson, William said: “The idea the space race is on at the moment, we’ve seen everyone trying to get space tourism going, it’s the idea that we need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”

“And I think that ultimately is what sold it for me – that really is quite crucial to be focusing on this one rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future,” he added.

On Wednesday, Jeff Bezos flew four passengers including William Shatner, the 90-year-old actor who portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in “Star Trek,” to the edge of space in a Blue Origin “New Shepard” rocket. Shatner made history as the oldest person to reach this point, breaking a record set by 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk.

In September, William revealed the 15 finalists for his inaugural Earthshot Prize, which aims to recognize the efforts of those trying to tackle issues affecting the planet, the BBC reported at the time. The five winners, who will receive a $US1 ($AU1) million prize each, will be announced in October.

In a remote TED Talk delivered from Windsor in October 2020, William confirmed that the prize’s namesake stems from US President John F Kennedy’s “Moonshot” program, which led to the first man walking on the moon in 1969.

“We must harness that same spirit of human ingenuity and purpose and turn it with laser-sharp focus and urgency on the most pressing challenge we have ever faced – repairing our planet,” he said at the time.

Despite this nod to the space race, the father of three told Fleming there is a climate cost to space flights. He added that we should be improving this planet for younger generations who are experiencing a rise in “climate anxiety” and whose “futures are basically threatened the whole time.”

When asked if his own children have started to “nag” him, William said George, 8, has started litter picking at school and became confused and annoyed when they revisited the same site the next day and “pretty much all the same litter they picked up was back again.”

William also said that his father, Prince Charles, had a “hard road” discussing climate advocacy “very early on before anyone else thought it was a topic.”

Kensington Palace did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.