Jeff Bezos says he spends more on climate than space travel and recounts the time he played an alien
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Alex Wong | Getty Images
Jeff Bezos may have earmarked $1 billion of Amazon stock a year to fund his Blue Origin rocket company, but he says he’s spending more of his fortune on addressing climate change.
During an interview at the Ignatius Forum in Washington, D.C., last week, the Amazon founder and executive chairman was asked what he would say to critics who argue that billionaires such as himself should be spending more of their fortune on targeting Earth’s climate issues rather than space travel.
“They’re missing the duality that we need to do both and that the two things are deeply connected,” Bezos told Harvard Business Review editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius. “I’m actually spending even more money on the Bezos Earth Fund than I’m spending on space.”
Bezos acknowledged there’s a “tremendous amount to be done” on Earth, but that in order to “keep growing as a civilization,” humans need to look to developing resources on other planets as well.
Bezos launched the $10 billion Earth Fund in 2020 to issue grants to scientists, activists and other organizations working to address climate change. So far, the fund has granted $947 million, and the goal is to issue the remaining $9 billion by 2030.
After stepping down as Amazon CEO in July, Bezos is spending more time on personal ambitions like the Earth Fund and Blue Origin, as well as The Washington Post, which he acquired in 2013.
Bezos is setting aside more time to Blue Origin projects in particular. CNBC previously reported that Bezos recently doubled his weekly time commitment to Blue Origin, dedicating both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons to updates or discussions at the space company.
Bezos has long had an interest in space. At his high school graduation, he gave a valedictorian speech that said he wanted to build “space hotels, amusement parks, yachts and colonies for two or three million people orbiting around the earth.” He ended his valedictorian speech with the words, “Space: the final frontier. Meet me there.” It was meant to be a riff on the “Star Trek” tagline.
Bezos went on to play a small role as an alien in the 2016 sci-fi film “Star Trek: Beyond.”
“That was not an easy gig to get,” Bezos told Ignatius, adding that he only spoke one line during the film. “I insisted on a speaking role which complicated the whole scenario.”
WATCH: Why the Bezos Earth Fund is putting $500 million into renewable energy in the climate change fight