Its founder Amazon Jeff Bezos announced the final round of $ 443 million Earth Fund grants, which will be spent primarily on land conservation and rehabilitation and efforts to reduce environmental impact on marginalized communities.
This year, the fund has provided more than $ 3 billion for similar initiatives. In 2020, Bezos has pledged $ 10 billion to tackle climate change this decade.
Initially, Bezos mainly funded big-name environmental groups and comparatively large budgets instead of supporting more indigenous people and people of color from community groups, his critics said. Other criticisms have focused on how Amazon continues to pollute neighborhoods and emit rising levels of greenhouse gases.
Since that early response, environmental justice, a movement to stop pollution and environmental degradation, has become a major part of the Bezos Earth Fund. The final round of funding provides $ 130 million for 19 different organizations doing "critical work on climate justice."
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The $ 130 million for environmental justice in this last round of funding is intended to support the initiative Justice40 of the Biden government. Shortly after taking office in January, Biden took the initiative through an executive decree to ensure that "disadvantaged communities" receive 40% of the "total benefits" of federal investments in clean energy and climate action.
The latest funding announcement also includes $ 261 million allocated to the international initiative to conserve 30 percent of the Earth's land and oceans by 2030. It will focus on creating, expanding and monitoring so-called 'protected areas'. According to the Bezos Earth Fund, the grants will create 11 million hectares of newly protected areas in the Congo Basin, home to 70 percent of Africa's forests. In the Tropics, another major coal reservoir for the planet, grants will convert about 48 million hectares into protected areas.
The Bezos Earth Fund says the newly protected areas will help "safeguard" the rights of local communities on 24 million hectares of land. It is also spending an additional $ 25 million to launch a new kind of "global mechanism" that could provide "support" to indigenous peoples and local communities. Forests tend to do better under their care, she points out research. There is also an additional $ 51 million for landscaping in the US and Africa.