Prince William and Kate were praised for their grasp of climate issues by one expert who met with the royal couple on Thursday during their tour of Boston.
Joe Christo, managing director of climate non-profit Stone Living Lab, and a few colleagues chatted with the Prince and Princess of Wales during their walkabout of Piers Park at Boston Harbor. Thursday’s royal itinerary focused on how the coastal city of Boston is tackling its serious climate-driven threats including rising sea levels, erosion, and worsening storms.
The couple were joined by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, the city’s chief of energy environment and open space, for their third stop of the day which saw them change into warmer outfits as temperatures hovered just above freezing.
“I’ve lived in Boston for a lot of my life and it was just cold, windy and blustery,” Mr Christo told The Independent on Thursday. “But Prince William and Princess Kate were hardy, they did a great job. They had a great conversation with us.”
“When we weren’t talking about climate, I guess we still were talking about climate – given that the weather ended up being the topic of conversation,” he added.
“But they just seemed really happy to be here and really excited about the Earthshot Prize and for Boston to be the host.”
The Prince and Princess of Wales’ three-day visit to the Massachusetts city will end on Friday with the Earthshot Prize awards, a competition devised by Prince William to celebrate and scale climate-fighting innovations with millions of dollars in prize money.
Stone Living Lab helps communities vulnerable to climate change in New England adapt and become more resilient using nature-based approaches. On Thursday, the organisation announced a new collaboration with Living Seawalls, an Australia-based finalist of the 2021 Earthshot Prize, which creates panels that mimic natural habitats and promote marine life. The partnership will see panels installed at two sites in Boston Harbor.
Mr Christo said the royals were interested to know more about the lab and their partnership, along with the broader climate work going on in Boston.
“We were able to talk about how the partnership is going and what we hope to get out of it for Boston and the region,” he said.
“They already knew Katie [Dafforn, marine ecologist] from Living Seawalls and it seems they are very personally involved in Earthshot. They know about all the finalists and winners.
“They really know what they’re talking about when it comes to climate adaptation work.”
William and Kate started the day at Greentown Labs in Somerville, the US’s largest clean-tech incubator for start-ups and entrepreneurs, which has created more than 9,000 jobs.
On Friday, the second annual Earthshot awards ceremony will take place at Boston’s MGM Music Hall, featuring appearances by Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox and videos including one narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
Yet despite the glitzy event, the senior royals’ first overseas trip since the death of Queen Elizabeth II has been overshadowed by a new racism scandal out of Buckingham Palace, and Netflix’s slickly-timed drop of Prince Harry and Meghan’s Netflix show teaser. The docuseries is likely to contain more criticism of the British royal family after Harry and Meghan stepped down from official duties three years ago over allegations of racism.