Our planet’s last frontier has reportedly remained an afterthought at multiple iterations of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, but it appears the calls from island countries and various organizations to protect our waters have been heard.
Bloomberg reported Dec. 8 that the Bezos Earth Fund, created by Amazon founder and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, has committed up to $100 million to “help protect 30% of the Pacific Ocean.”
Grant financier Global Environment Facility pledged another $125 million in support of the Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity initiative, which is reportedly backed by 16 island nations.
“We’ve never had a philanthropic partner prepared to work with us at a continent-wide scale. I really believe it’s going to be transformational. It has to be because we’re out of time,” said Karena Lyons, the director of partnerships, integration, and resource mobilization at the Pacific Community (SPC).
According to the United Nations, our oceans soak up one-quarter of global carbon pollution, helping to stabilize temperatures, but the use of dirty energy is creating more planet-warming gases than can reasonably be absorbed.
Island nations are particularly vulnerable, but as reported by Bloomberg, “scientists have found that big marine-protected areas can lessen those pressures and build resilience.”
In recent years, Amazon has received a significant amount of criticism for apparent greenwashing.
The Verge reported that it created 18% more carbon pollution in 2021 than the year prior despite its “efforts to sell itself as a leader in climate action,” while the Eco Experts found that the company produced more pollution than some countries.
The giant retailer may have a long way to go to live up to its eco-friendly promises, but its latest actions appear to be a step in the right direction.
“There is no greater threat to the people of the Pacific than climate change. It threatens our security, our livelihoods, and our well-being. … We’re thrilled to partner with the Bezos Earth Fund on this initiative and call on others to join us,” Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. said in a statement published by PR Newswire.
“Because of its vast size, what happens to our Pacific is make or break for the planet,” Tonga Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni said. “We mean to show the world that Pacific people are resilient and determined to hope.”
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