Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pledges $10 billion to fight climate change
Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man (net worth $131 billion), announced Monday that he will spend $10 billion to fight climate change, calling it “the biggest threat to our planet,” NPR reports. The money will be used to create the Bezos Earth Fund, which will provide money to scientists, activists, NGOs and other efforts that offer a real possibility to preserve and protect the natural world, Bezos said in an Instagram post.
The commitment is met with an eye roll from some Amazon workers, thousands of whom signed an open letter to Bezos and Amazon’s board of directors in April, asking them to end contracts with oil and gas companies, stop donations to climate change-deniers, and set measurable in-house climate change goals.
Ecologists estimate more than 6,000 koalas died in Australian bushfires
Australian ecologists in New South Wales say that koalas are now endangered in the state after drought and bushfires ravaged the country in January. Steve Phillips, an ecologist and managing director of the Biolink consultancy, told The Sydney Morning Herald that his team estimates more than 6,000 koalas died in the fires and as much as 85% of koala habitat were lost in the Wardell and Rappville regions.
“The scale of what happened is spectacularly huge, it’s incomprehensible,” Dr. Phillips told the Herald. “Its status needs to be updated to endangered from vulnerable.”
Virginia House of Delegates votes to ban Styrofoam across the state
On February 11, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 55 to 44 to pass Del. Betsy Carr’s bill (HB533) to ban polystyrene cups and take-out containers in the state. Polystyrene is the most frequently observed plastic litter in the ocean. The bill now heads to the Senate for action.
“A lot of waste comes from things we don’t need, and we know we shouldn’t use, such as foam cups and take-out containers,” state director of Environment Virginia Elly Boehmer said in a press release. “This trash ends up in our open spaces and waterways, where it endangers wildlife. Polystyrene never breaks down, so it harms our environment for decades. Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute our planet for generations to come.”