Jeff Bezos will spend $1 billion to conserve land and aquatic ecosystems, according to an announcement Monday from the Bezos Earth Fund, the Amazon founder’s $10 billion environmental philanthropy.
The new pledge brings the Earth Fund’s commitment thus far to nearly $2 billion, including more than $200 million in grants announced earlier this month, largely targeting grassroots environmental justice groups.
The Earth Fund will concentrate on ecosystems in the Congo Basin, the tropical Andes and the tropical Pacific Ocean, and aim to support Indigenous peoples and local communities who often bear the brunt of stewarding such conservation efforts. The vast majority of the world’s biodiversity is located in tropical regions, leading some scientists to argue that conservation efforts should be focused there rather in temperate zones.
In a statement, Bezos lauded the centuries-long march of scientific and technological progress as resulting in lower global poverty rates and infant mortality, and increased life expectancies and educational attainment.
“But there is a notable exception,” he said. “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 preindustrial age. We can and must reverse this anomaly. By coming together with the right focus and ingenuity, we can have both the benefits of our modern lives and a thriving natural world.”
Bezos also challenged others “to make their own pledges to protect and conserve nature and help in the fight against climate change. A job this big needs many allies.”
Earlier Monday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced that he has raised more than $1 billion in corporate backing for Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, his vehicle funding clean energy startups.