What Jeff Bezos Says He Realized After Going to Space

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos said looking down on the Earth from his Blue Origin rocket made him realize we need to be doing more to combat climate change. The Amazon founder told world leaders Tuesday that businesses and governments must work together to fix the planet.

Speaking at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Bezos said his trip to space had a profound impact on him.

“Looking back at earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin. The world so finite and so fragile,” he said, according to The Daily Mail. “Now in this critical year, and what we all know is the decisive decade, we must all stand together to protect our world.”

Leaders from most of the world’s largest economies are meeting this week to discuss solutions to the climate crisis. Jeff Bezos pledged $2 billion Tuesday to go to climate restoration and food initiatives, the New York Post noted.

“We must conserve what we still have, we must restore what we’ve lost, and we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come,” Bezos said.

The 57-year-old tech billionaire drew criticism for preaching sustainability while promoting a space tourism business. Many have claimed the Blue Origin rockets produce massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Others also pointed out that he, and most of the COP26 attendees, flew to Scotland on private jets.

Bezos and Amazon have histories of using loopholes to pay as little tax as possible. So, him asking governments to do more rang hypocritical to many critics.

But he admitted companies must also do more to fight climate change.

“We cannot rely only on governments, philanthropy, and NGOs to fix the climate crisis,” Jeff Bezos said. “The private sector also has to play its part. Companies need to take leadership positions.”

Blue Origin Spokesperson Disputes Claims

A Blue Origin spokesperson reached out to Outsider to dispute the above.

“Building a road to space starts with reusable vehicles and New Shepard is the first step in realizing that mission. The entire New Shepard system has been designed for operational reusability and minimal maintenance between flights from day one to decrease the cost of access to space and reduce waste. Nearly 99% of New Shepard’s dry mass is reused, including the booster, capsule, ring fin, engine, landing gear, and parachutes. New Shepard’s BE-3PM engine is fueled by highly efficient and clean liquid oxygen and hydrogen. During flight, the only byproduct of New Shepard’s engine combustion is water vapor with no carbon emissions.”

Money Jeff Bezos Pledged To Come From His $10B Earth Fund

That $2 billion pledge will go toward two major initiatives. Half of that money is earmarked to restore and revitalize land in Africa. Bezos’ will partner with African-owned groups to help carry out the work, GeekWire reported.

The other billion will go toward food production. The money will help improve crop yields, reduce waste, and promote plant-rich diets. Though, Bezos provided few details about how he would accomplish these goals or when he’d begin work.

The $2 billion will come from the $10 billion Earth Fund that Jeff Bezos created last year. In an Instagram post announcing the fund, Bezos said it is possible to save the world from the effects of climate change.

“This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world,” also said the world’s second-richest man.

Bezos previously pledged more than $700 million in grants to well-establish environmental groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund, GeekWire wrote in November of last year. The Earth Fund pledged another $200 million in grants toward climate justice and innovation projects.

He’s also said companies need to move heavy industries to space to protect the environment. An idea that’s received a lot of criticism.