Last February Jeff Bezos announced what the environmental community- and a growing wave of generally climate-concerned citizens- had been long waiting for from the richest man in the world; he was finally giving a sizeable chunk of his wealth to climate change efforts. With no details on how this 10 billion would be allocated following the announcement, we knew we were likely to be holding our breath for quite some time until these decisions were made. Barely a few weeks after the words “10 billion” and “climate” were out of his mouth, the harrowing month of March arrived, and suddenly it was almost- almost- easy to forget that a billionaire had finally “eclipsed the total sum spent by American philanthropists on climate change”. Bezos himself was quite otherwise occupied during the next six months, with the pandemic and lockdown orders instantly transcending Amazon from its already behemoth global status to the e-commerce overlord of our new daily lives.
But although the pandemic still claws at us, grim and unrelenting, climate wise there is cause for hope, progress and planning. The Biden Presidential win provides a sense of overall relief that until now was almost unfathomable, and that relief will be felt no less by mother nature. Biden’s climate plan was the most comprehensive and most robust out of all Presidential candidates, except Jay Inslee. Although it is also important to note that Biden’s impressive climate plan will also face great challenges if the Democrats can’t flip the Senate in January. But still, better a climate plan and heartfelt intent to address the crisis, than the reverse which has made us seethe with despair for the past four years. And, just a few days before Biden’s win, we also learned that Jeff Bezos is not about to back out of his big climate promise, made seemingly eons ago.
Now the question beguiling the minds of climate activists and concerned citizens alike- which organizations are on the receiving end of the most amount of money in America ever given to addressing the climate crisis?
Hint: “The Sunrise Movement, which boisterously supports a Green New Deal and electioneers for Democrats, is not among the groups I’m told will receive funding. Nor is any racial or environmental-justice group, nor any other organization that prioritizes climatic reconciliation as of a piece with racial equity”Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic
However, these first few grants, while significant in themselves, only comprise 7% of the total 10 billion. Let’s hope that:
- This first chunk of money will be put to good use in the hands of these major, well-established environmental organizations, and
- Bezos will expand his scope in that impressive brain and pocket of his to fund two other types of climate initiatives, working just as hard on climate solutions with even more vigour and momentum- climate justice groups, and the youth movement.
Find out more- including which organizations are first in line for the Bezos Earth Fund- from The Atlantic