Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, is donating $10 billion to fight climate change. Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon and Amazon Prime, also owns the newspaper The Washington Post and the suborbital spaceflight company Blue Origin.
On Feb. 17, Bezos announced that he’s launching the Bezos Earth Fund via Instagram, posting: “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share,” he wrote. “This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”
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The donation also represents the second-largest charitable donation of all time, behind Warren Buffet’s $30.6 billion donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006. Bezos’ $10 billion gift represents about 7 percent of his total wealth, which comprises mostly Amazon stock and currently amounts to roughly $126.9 billion.
Bezos’ donation comes at a time of great criticism for Amazon’s environmental impacts as a company. In 2019, Amazon released data on its carbon footprint, which according to one Associated Press article, “rivals that of a small country.” Thousands of the company’s own employees have been protesting Amazon’s emissions, use of fossil fuels, and relationships with oil and gas companies, and they called on Bezos to do more to fight climate change.
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Last year, Bezos announced that Amazon will be using only renewable energy by 2030, it will begin replacing its trucks with electric vehicles as early as 2021, and the company will be carbon-neutral by 2040. This donation continues that initiative in a big way, proving the company’s climate initiative is more than just talk.
Announcements of which organizations will receive the Bezos Earth Fund’s donations have yet to be made. This won’t be a two-day overnight. The Bezos Earth Fund will start delivering grants this summer.
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