Amazon founder Jeff Bezos awarded several climate change-related groups and causes more than $791 million in what was the first round from his “Earth Fund,” dedicated to spending at least $10 billion on climate activism.
But liberals still blasted the billionaire for “greenwashing” Amazon’s carbon output, and for donating most of the money to “predominantly white institutions” instead of grassroots organizations.
The largest individual grants released by Bezos will go to the World Resources Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The leftists said while these organizations do a lot of good, the argued that Bezos should be looking elsewhere.
“This is representative of the kind of leadership Bezos is providing, which is big and clumsy and misinformed,” Angela Mahecha Adrar, executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance, told Quartz. “He made big investments in outdated, conservation-style organizations that are not resolving climate at the rate we need to and that still get to decide, as predominantly white organizations, what priorities to focus on, and what strings to attach.”
Bezos also gave largely to organizations that will focus on “tech-savvy approaches to curbing greenhouse gas emissions,” according to Quartz, a leftist publication, while ignoring “climate justice and labor issues” that are important to “progressive climate policy.”
All of this suggests Bezos’s “Earth Fund” is nothing more than an attempt to “help distract away from concerns about Amazon’s track records on labor rights and emissions,” said Matthew Nisbet, a professor of environmental communication at Northeastern University.
“Bezos has to give away a lot of money to get the climate change ‘halo’,” Nisbet said. “The easiest way is to make the rich richer and feed into conventional approaches to the problem.”
Bezos’s recent project was met with similar criticism when he first announced it in February.
Even though the “Earth Fund” makes Bezos the number one financial backer of climate activism, environmental extremists refused to applaud the effort.