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Jeff Bezos has pledged $1 billion to conservation efforts

Jeff Bezos has pledged $1 billion to conservation efforts

September 22, 2021: On Monday, Jeff Bezos pledges to give away $1 billion in grants this year, focusing on conservation efforts.

The pledge comes through the Bezos Earth Fund of Bezos, which the Amazon founder and chairman began in 2020 to execute his $10 billion commitment to fight climate change. The Bezos Earth Fund has pledged to donate about $1 billion a year to activists, scientists, and different groups working to address the globe’s climate crisis, to spend $10 billion by 2030.

Following this focus on conservation, the fund said it intends to support efforts around landscape restoration and food system transportation in the coming years.

The latest round of grants will be used to “create, expand, manage and monitor protected and conserved areas,” the Bezos Earth Fund said in a release. To start, the fund is planning to focus on Central Africa’s Congo Basin, the tropical Andes region, and the tropical Pacific Ocean, all of which are critical areas for biodiversity and carbon stocks, or the amount of carbon stored in things such as vegetation, soils, and oceans.

“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,” Bezos said in a statement. “We can and must reverse this anomaly.”

Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon in July, handing the reins over to former cloud boss Andy Jassy and transitioning into executive chairman. Bezos is now expected to spend more time on initiatives like the Earth Fund and his Blue Origin spaceship company, which launched him to the edge of space in July.

“Nature is our life support system, and it’s fragile,” Bezos said Monday at an event in New York City. “I was reminded of this just this July when I went into space with Blue Origin. I’d heard that seeing the Earth from space changes one’s point of view of the world, but I was not prepared for just how much that would be true.”

It is not yet known which organizations will receive the grants. The gifts will be prioritized in areas where local communities and Indigenous peoples are a primary focus of conservation programs,  other considerations, the Bezos Earth Fund said.

Earlier this month, the fund said it would give $203.7 million by the end of the year to organizations advancing climate justice, among other causes. That’s after it awarded $791 million in grants in the previous year to 16 organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Nature Conservancy.

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