There comes a point in every billionaire’s life where they realize: you cannot take it with you. They tend to also realize that it looks f–king terrible to not have some sort of big charitable initiative. Bill Gates came to that conclusion years after he became a billionaire, and he’s spent much of the past two decades focused on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is where the bulk of his money now goes to. Jeff Bezos has seemingly just come to the conclusion that he needs to start putting major money into some kind of charitable endeavors. So he’s doing this: The Bezos Earth Fund.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce I am launching the Bezos Earth Fund.
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.
“…To amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change…” I mean… it’s okay. It’s not great. I’m one of those people who believes if I had tens of billions of dollars to spend on charity, I could do more than just “vaguely amplify environmental stuff.” I’m not minimizing the impending climate change disaster – it IS a disaster already and chickens are coming home to roost in our lifetimes, I know that. But also… homelessness, food insecurity, disease (treatable diseases), the dismantling of white, male and oligarchical power structures, the need to put real money into educating an unwilling MAGA populace, and about a million other things. Besides, Amazon is in bed with oil & gas. The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group released a statement too:
As employees, here is our statement to Jeff Bezos' Earth Fund announcement (as an image): pic.twitter.com/opgcCpa67D
— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) February 17, 2020
So… yeah. I mean, I’m glad Bezos is getting started and yadda yadda yadda. Honestly, the best gossip-read I have on this is that the Bezos Earth Fund might completely overshadow Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, which was branded as “the Nobel Prize of the environmental world” and promised to give money to people who came up with “solutions” to environmental problems. And then Prince William and Jeff Bezos buzzed off in their private jets.
Photos courtesy of Getty.