Jeff Bezos donates over $400 million to help save the planet he blasted off from just months ago




  • In Science
  • 2021-12-06 17:55:51Z
  • By Business Insider
Jeff Bezos laughs wearing a cowboy hat
Jeff Bezos laughs wearing a cowboy hat  
  • Jeff Bezos' Earth Fund donated $443 million to 44 climate groups on Monday.

  • This is part of his commitment to spend $10 billion by 2030 to fight the climate crisis.

  • Bezos recently used his fortune to send himself to space and has been criticized for focusing too much on space travel.

Jeff Bezos left his fellow humans on Earth for about 15 minutes in July when he shot himself up to the edge of space. But that doesn't mean he's leaving his home planet behind.

On Monday, the founder of Amazon announced a $443 million donation to organizations focused on climate justice, nature conservation, and tracking climate goals. Bezos' organization, the Bezos Earth Fund, wrote in a press release that it awarded 44 grants to organizations that fit that criteria, including $140 million to President Joe Biden's Justice40 initiative, which helps fight climate change in disadvantaged communities, along with $51 million to support land restoration in the US and Africa.

These grants are part of Bezos' $10 billion commitment to his Earth Fund to fight climate change - funds of which he promised would be fully disbursed by 2030.

"The goal of the Bezos Earth Fund is to support change agents who are seizing the challenges that this decisive decade presents," Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund, said in a statement. "Through these grants, we are advancing climate justice and the protection of nature, two areas that demand stronger action."

As the world's second richest person, Bezos has been using his money to not only fight the climate crisis - his fund gave $791 million to 16 climate organizations last year - but to venture into space. On July 20, Bezos boarded a rocket made by his aerospace company Blue Origin and spent about three minutes in outer space - a form of travel, and way of life, he anticipates will become the norm.

"Over centuries, many people will be born in space. It will be their first home," Bezos said during a recent conference. "They will be born on these colonies, live on these colonies. Then, they'll visit Earth the way you would visit, you know, Yellowstone National Park."

After his space flight, Bezos also expressed the need to preserve the Earth and move the "polluting industry to space," adding that his quick trip "reinforces my commitment to climate change, to the environment."

"We live on this beautiful planet. You can't imagine how thin the atmosphere is when you see it from space," Bezos said in July. "We live in it, and it looks so big. It feels like, you know, this atmosphere is huge and we can disregard it and treat it poorly. When you get up there and you see it, you see how tiny it is and how fragile it is."

The billionaire has been criticized for focusing too much on outer space when there are many pressing problems down here on Earth. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, recently criticized Bezos for his fixation on space travel while managing to avoid paying his fair share in taxes.

"The richest guy on Earth can launch himself into space while over half the country lives paycheck to paycheck, nearly 43 million are saddled with student debt, and child care costs force millions out of work," Warren tweeted. "He can afford to pitch in so everyone else gets a chance."

But Bezos responded to claims he doesn't focus enough on pressing issues on Earth, saying at the same conference that those critics miss the fact that "we need to do both, and that the two things are deeply connected."

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