Prince William would very much like it if billionaires would stop pretending to be astronauts. In a recent interview with BBC, the future king criticized the likes of Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, both of whom recently flew up very high in their boy toy spaceships, without directly naming them. Instead, William thinks their money could be better spent on fixing the royal mess we’ve here made on Earth. Considering that we’re all stuck living here until the planet is incinerated by the sun — assuming humanity makes it that long — William all but called the rich dude space race the astronomical height of frivolity.
“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,” said the Duke of Cambridge. It’s a pointed remark at Tesla bro Elon Musk, who is pouring billions into turning Mars into the next outsourced car factory. William also worried that our offspring won’t inherit a stable world, lamenting that he wants “the things that I’ve enjoyed: the outdoor life, nature, the environment, I want that to be there for my children, and not just my children but everyone else’s children. If we’re not careful we’re robbing from our children’s future through what we do now.”
And sure, it may be especially rich, no pun intended, that a literal monarch from one of the wealthiest families in the world would be scoffing at how other wealthy people spend their money, but he has a point. The dangers of climate change aren’t hypothetical. We are living in its reality, with heatwaves and natural disasters taking place at an increasing clip. If billionaires invested their money into things like STEM education for kids, grants to environmental researchers, infrastructure for cities to survive floods, maybe humanity could have a fighting chance. “We can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action,” he said, stressing that he’s using his platform to “highlight incredible people doing incredible things and will genuinely help fix some of these problems.”
In addition to being a monumental waste of money, the billionaire space race is also incredibly corny. Whomst among us didn’t have a viscerally repelled reaction when Bezos stepped out his rocket wearing a cowboy hat, grinning like a toddler who just drew all over the walls? With the exception of, you know, actual astronauts, no one needs to go into space — especially when there is work to do here on Earth. Otherwise, the disastrous flooding from Hurricane Ida could seem like a jolly trip to Buckingham Palace compared to the calamities in store for humanity.