Jeff Bezos Says Space Flight Persuaded Him To Do More To Save Earth

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said his recent trip to space inspired him to take action and pledge $2 billion to help fight climate change.

Bezos made the announcement while speaking at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which is also attended by world leaders hoping to address the crisis.

He told conference attendees the vulnerability of Earth was emphasized as he looked back on it while aboard his New Shepard rocket ship during his 10-minute suborbital flight.

"I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens from which you view the world. But I was not prepared for just how much that would be true," Bezos said, via the Press Association news agency.

"Looking back at Earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin, the world so finite and so fragile. Now, in this critical year and what we all know is the decisive decade, we must all stand together to protect our world."

While announcing the pledge at an event on protecting and restoring forests and land, Bezos said that two thirds of Africa's land was degraded but this could be reversed.

"We must conserve what we still have, we must restore what we've lost and we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come. Restoration can improve soil fertility, raise yields and improve food security, make water more reliable, create jobs and boost economic growth, while also sequestering carbon."

The billionaire said the money from his Bezos Earth Fund is part of a $10 billion commitment to fight climate change over the next decade.

In September, Bezos promised to give away $1 billion in grants this year to support conservation efforts, after making a similar statement about being inspired by his trip into space.

"Together, this $3 billion in pledges will drive a new threefold nature agenda for the Bezos Earth Fund, focused simultaneously on conservation, restoration and food transformation," Bezos said on Tuesday, via CNBC. "We must conserve what we still have, we must restore what we've lost and we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come."

Bezos and fellow billionaire space tourist pioneer Richard Branson were heavily criticized for using their vast wealth for space adventures and not aiding humanitarian or climate change issues.

Bezos, world leaders, and other VIPs attending the summit in Glasgow were also accused of being hypocritical for addressing the need to combat climate change after flying in using private jets.

Matt Finch, of the U.K.'s Transport and Environment campaign group, told Scotland's Daily Record: "The average private jet, and we are not talking Air Force One, emits two tons of CO2 for every hour in flight.

"It can't be stressed enough how bad private jets are for the environment, it is the worst way to travel by miles. Private jets are very prestigious but it is difficult to avoid the hypocrisy of using one while claiming to be fighting climate change."

Bezos Earth Fund have been contacted for comment.

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Jeff Bezos speaks during an Action on Forests and Land Use event on day three of COP26 on November 2, 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. 2021 sees the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. Steve Reigate - Pool/Getty Images