Jeff Bezos Pledges $10 Billion to Fight Climate Change. Alexa, How Do We Apply for a Grant?
"Alexa, What's Jeff Bezos up to these days?"
"Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, owner of The Washington Post and the richest man alive is currently busy saving the world."
Before you yell "Alexa, you're lying!" Consider it a little hyperbole or over-enthusiasm of a kid boasting about her dad in the schoolyard.
Bezos just vowed to fund the most massive climate change philanthropic endeavor in the history of mankind. He pledges to spend $10 billion to fund the Bezos Earth Fund, in an effort to help fight climate change. The Fund does this through funding scientists, activists, NGOs and more. That is twenty times the amount spent on environmental causes by all the non-profits in the US put together last year.
Bezos is serious:
"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. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation-states, global organizations, and individuals.
"I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together."
This is an astounding amount of money and scientists and policymakers are already sharpening their pencils on grant writing for clean energy, transportation alternatives, and cleaner fuel and food systems. The question is not whether funding research and policy can help move the needle against climate change, but whether individuals are willing to step up and take action and personal responsibility for everyday decisions.
Here at The Beet, we believe in eating a mostly plant-based diet to help lower the impact of our food choices on the environment, since agriculture accounts for about one-quarter of total GHG emissions, which are warming the planet.
The fund will begin writing checks as early as this summer to scientists and NGOs, as well as policymakers and activists. For fans, this spells a hopeful new chapter in the story of the environmental crisis we're facing. For others, the finger-wagging started almost as quickly as the post went up, judging by the comments on it.
The followers' reactions varied from Bear Grylls giving a gratitude emoje followed by three arm muscles and a thumb's up (which itself got 1,2511 likes)
To others who took issues with Amazon's not insignificant carbon footprint. Amazon's need to deliver goods to shoppers at increasing speed, and the explosion of online shopping, has led it to be one of the companies most known for its carbon footprint. The Washington Post coverage of the new fund notes: "There is tension within Amazon on the issue, with some employees saying the company isn’t doing enough and there is a threat of punishment for those who are too outspoken on the matter." One comment reflected this sentiment:
marissa_massaro this is similar to someone pouring gasoline on ur burning house and then offering to help u figure out how to stop ur house from burning lol.
The coverage of the fund was mixed. The Verge interviewed activists who reacted as predicted, critically. "While the funding could be a huge windfall for some, other activists pointed out that Bezos’ efforts to stop the dangerous effects of climate change might be better pointed inward—at what Amazon could be doing to minimize its damage to the environment."