An environmental fund founded by Jeff Bezos has pledged $1 billion toward an effort to “protect 30% of land and sea by 2030 to prevent mass extinctions and bolster resilience to climate change.”
The Bezos Earth Fund, which the Amazon founder launched last year, announced its commitment to the “international goal” on Monday. Bezos is the richest person in the world, worth an estimated $195 billion, according to Forbes. The new pledge represents about 0.5% of his net worth.
The pledged money will prioritize “areas that are important for biodiversity and carbon stocks and will give emphasis to the central role of local communities and Indigenous peoples in conservation efforts,” the fund said. It will also focus heavily on areas like the Congo Basin, the tropical Andes and the tropical Pacific Ocean.
“Conserving 30% of the right land and maritime areas could protect up to 80% of plant and animal species, secure 60% of carbon stocks, and sustain two-thirds of clean water,” the fund’s press release said.
Bezos, who spent roughly $5.5 billion to go to space earlier this year, has paid an effective tax rate of less than 1% in recent years, according to ProPublica.
“The natural world is not better today than it was 500 years ago, when we enjoyed unspoiled forests, clean rivers, and the pristine air of the pre-industrial age. We can and must reverse this anomaly,” Bezos said in the press release. “By coming together with the right focus and ingenuity, we can have both the benefits of our modern lives and a thriving natural world.”
The Bezos Earth Fund is a $10 billion commitment made by Bezos “to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and other actors that will drive climate and nature solutions.” Bezos claims the funds are to be fully allocated by 2030, which is the year the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved.
Bezos’ philanthropic endeavors have often been criticized for being lackluster. Prior to 2017, it was unclear what the centibillionaire was willing to support ― a stark contrast from fellow billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, whose philanthropy efforts are widely known. Notably, both Gates and Buffett (alongside other billionaires) have signed the Giving Pledge, which is a promise by the ultrawealthy to donate or give away more than half of their wealth, while Bezos has not.
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