Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and Washington Post owner, announced on Monday that he was donating $10bn to save the Earth’s environment – barely a month after it was revealed Amazon threatened to fire employees who spoke out about the company’s role in the climate crisis.
The new Bezos Earth Fund will start distributing the money this summer, the multi-billionaire said in an Instagram post to his 1.4 million followers.
“I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share,” Bezos said in the post.
“This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs – any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take a collective effort from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.”
The announcement appears to contradict Amazon’s actions towards employees speaking publicly about the climate crisis. In January, the Guardian revealed that several workers who called for stronger climate action by the company were warned to be quiet or face dismissal.
Bezos, the world’s richest man with a personal net worth of $129.9bn according to Forbes, has clashed with US president Donald Trump, a frequent climate change denier, on many occasions, notably after the US withdrew from the Paris climate agreement.
“Anybody today who is not acknowledging that climate change is real – that we humans are affecting the planet in a very significant and dangerous way – those people are not being reasonable,” Bezos told Amazon’s Smbhav summit for small and medium-sized businesses in India last month.