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$10 billion Earth Fund commitment by Jeff Bezos kicks into higher gear
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$10 billion Earth Fund commitment by Jeff Bezos kicks into higher gear

Humanity has enjoyed great progress over the past half century.

Since 1970, global poverty rates have fallen from nearly 60% to 10%, and average life expectancy worldwide has risen from 55 to 70.

But the price we’ve paid for these changes has been high.

Climate change poses a great threat to humanity, undermining past progress and worsening the quality of life. The destruction of nature is undermining the ecosystems we depend on every day. We believe there is a better path forward.

We cannot choose between prosperity and the environment.

Smart action on climate change and nature will make our economy more efficient, drive technological change, and reduce risks. This will lead to more jobs, healthier citizens, less injustice, and better lives.

Incremental change won’t deliver.

Changes across entire systems will be required – driven by new technologies, different policies, shifts in corporate behavior, energetic citizen action, new coalitions, and new ways of thinking about the future.

To date nearly $2 billion was directed at various programs by the Bezos Earth Fund.

The Bezos Earth Fund recently also announced its first investments dedicated explicitly to marine protection at the United Nations Ocean Conference, totaling $50 million in new grants. These grants further its commitment to the 30×30 initiative to protect 30% of the planet’s land and sea by 2030. Currently, only 7.93% of the ocean is zoned as marine protected areas.

The Bezos Earth Fund will provide grants totaling $30 million to support organizations working in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama in strengthening the Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor. By creating a network of marine protected areas covering more than 500,000-square-kilometers (193,000-square-miles) and a transboundary biosphere reserve, the four countries’ biological hotspots will be connected and protected. These grants are provided alongside those of other members of the Connect to Protect Eastern Tropical Pacific Coalition.

The coalition will work alongside governments, local communities, non-government organizations, and scientists to help establish a regional governance structure, design, and implement marine protected areas and the biosphere reserve, and secure long-term sustainable financing.

“The ocean is our planet’s life support system and a major carbon sink,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. “Investing in the ocean can be a powerful solution to many major challenges. It can protect vital marine ecosystems, provide jobs, help local communities, improve food security, and address climate change. These commitments are the first of many the Bezos Earth Fund will make to support marine protection in this decisive decade.”

The Earth Fund’s $20 million grant to the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas will further advance the goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. With this support, the Pristine Seas team will explore, document, and conduct research in the central and western Pacific Ocean over the next five years. This region contains the highest marine biodiversity on the planet, most of which is unprotected from extractive activities.

“It is an honor to receive this grant. It provides us with an exciting opportunity to work with local partners to accelerate, scale, and finance permanent ocean protection,” said Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and founder of Pristine Seas. “This grant allows Pristine Seas to continue to provide countries and local communities with the assistance and support they need to create marine-protected areas and achieve their ocean conservation and economic goals.”

The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and other actors who will drive climate and nature solutions.

By allocating funds creatively, wisely, and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030—the date the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved.

Photo: (Bottom): Philanthropist Jeff Bezos with Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence founder Gabriel Erem

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