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News for nerds

Jeff Bezos has placed an additional $1 billion into the Bezos Earth Fund to be spent on creating, expanding, managing, and monitoring protected and conserved areas of wilderness.

The money will take the form of grants to organizations working to preserve lands and secure Indigenous people’s rights in the Congo, tropical Andes Mountains, and across Oceania.

The latest pledge is on top of the ten-thousand millions he’s already devoted towards combating climate change more directly, with nearly one-thousand of those millions having already been distributed as grants.

“When people hanker for the good old days and glamorize the past, they’re almost always wrong. By most metrics, life is better than it was in the past,” Bezos said in a statement. “But there is a notable exception—the natural world is not better today than it was 500 years ago, when we enjoyed unspoiled forests, clean rivers, and the pristine air of the pre-industrial age.”

The first round of grant money went mostly to large, well-organized global conservation names like the WWF.

However the Amazon founder isn’t just throwing money around. Unsurprisingly, the man who transformed global e-commerce has a larger plan. Research has shown that if governments simply recognized all existing Indigenous land claims, it would be the single largest conservation victory since the invention of the national park.

The regions Bezos Earth Fund is looking to preserve are, to use the parlance of a famous television conservationist, “chock-a-block” with Indigenous groups.

“Conservation is one of the most effective anti-poverty strategies we have,” said United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. “I warmly welcome this generous commitment, which will help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.”

“We can and must reverse this anomaly,” Bezos added. “By coming together with the right focus and ingenuity, we can have both the benefits of our modern lives and a thriving natural world. I hope this commitment inspires others to make their own pledges to protect and conserve nature and help in the fight against climate change.”