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Ernest Gibson wondered if it was a hoax when he was first contacted about joining the Earthshot Prize Council as it came completely out of the blue.

The Council, which includes Prince William, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Brazilian footballer Dani Alves, naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Colombian singer Shakira, and Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming, has the task of choosing the final winners of The Earthshot Prize.

That prize is a global environmental award which aims to discover and scale solutions to the world’s biggest environmental challenges around waste, oceans, air pollution, nature and climate. Five prizes will be awarded each year for the next 10 years.

After a series of consultations with the Earthshot Prize, Gibson found himself taking a call with Prince William to discuss climate change. His appointment to the Council, alongside young German climate activist Luisa Neubauer, was announced this month.

Given the diversity and experience of his fellow Council members, Gibson says he hopes to bring a level of equity to the process.

“When we’re making decisions about how to award solutions, it needs to be done in a way that is mindful of the fact that some countries have a population of 10,000 people and some countries have a population of 1 billion, and to ensure that there is a level of equity when we’re awarding prizes, that it’s not just about the sheer number of people that can benefit from something but also, the impact itself.”

As with all his work in climate advocacy, Gibson is clear he will not be co-opted into playing the role of climate victim.

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