Is Prince William right billionaires should ‘repair the planet’ over traveling to space?


Fact Box

  • Prince William, the son of The Prince of Wales and Princess Diana, is second in line to the throne under Queen Elizabeth. One of his key priorities is protecting the environment in Africa and the United Kingdom.
  • On October 14, 2021, Prince William criticized billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk for their space travel agendas stating, “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.”
  • Former “Star Trek” lead William Shatner visited space on October 13, 2021, on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket, making him the oldest man to fly to space. Before his flight, he said, “I want to see space, I want to see the Earth, I want to see what we need to do to save Earth.” 
  • The global space economy totaled $446.9 billion in 2020, which is more than double the amount from $216.6 billion in 2009. 
  • In 2021, the net worth of the ten richest billionaires was about $1.2 trillion. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Bernard Arnault were the richest men in the world that year.

Tyler (Yes) 

Prince William's criticism directed towards wealthy businessmen that choose to explore space rather than fix matters on their own planet is completely warranted. These billionaires literally and figuratively have the world at their fingertips yet are choosing to compete to see who can make the best spaceship.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is worth around 200 billion dollars. The Borgen Project determined that over the span of 10 years, it would cost 300 billion to end world hunger. While Bezos could undoubtedly make a dent in the quest to end world hunger, his net worth would completely dissipate issues like extreme poverty and the presence of unhealthy drinking water in the United States. Bezos is attempting to reach space when there are 'food deserts' like Hopkins Park, Illinois, within his own home nation. 

Nations like Haiti and Turkey have recently suffered natural disasters that deserve more immediate attention than the solar system. Just a month after the nation's president was assassinated, Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake that displaced a great portion of its population. Massive corporations tend to donate to the common good when it is a trending topic, rather than conducting their own research in their efforts to 'help.' 

The energy and finances put forth by these billionaires and their researches in their attempts to reach space could easily be used to address climate change and other Earth-related issues. Traveling to space will only increase the carbon footprint that these billionaires have already built up through years of private air travel and factory manufacturing.

Curtice (No)

Prince William recently called out billionaires who have traveled to space for fun and tourism. He suggested they'd better serve society by investing more time and money in saving the Earth. The billionaires who have recently engaged in space travel include Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk. Whether you like them or not, they became wealthy through hard work, ingenuity, and maybe a little luck. Prince William earned his wealth, stature, and titles by simply being born. 

We can all applaud Prince William's efforts of awarding the Earth shot Prize for ground-breaking solutions to some of Earth's most pressing problems. Nonetheless, like many supposed environmentalists, it might be wise if he first starts at home. The British Royal Family has a sizeable carbon footprint, about 3,810 tons per year, compared to the average British resident, whose annual carbon footprint is just 10 tons per year. Perhaps Prince William could skip a flight or two in one of his two private jets.

It should go without saying that space exploration has provided countless benefits to humanity, including satellites and navigation. We could not have Google tell us how to navigate around in a new city without it. It has brought the world improved efficiency and productivity. It's no one's business how these billionaires spend their money or time, including Prince William. Wealthy individuals are under no obligation to spend their money only on endeavors that societal elites deem acceptable. Whether any of them choose to spend money to fly into space or to, as Prince William stated it, 'repair this planet,' it's their money, time, and resources, in which they reserve the right to spend as they see fit.

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