Some days I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this world we’re living in.
Over the past two years, watching the news has become both baffling, as well as concerning. So much so, that I actually have friends who have shared they simply don’t watch the news any longer.
I was pondering this column topic early Tuesday morning, I couldn’t help but wonder, is this what our parents used to think when they were our age? Now with two teens, I find myself identifying with my mom and relatable topics more than ever before.
Truth be told, this column really started brewing in my mind several months ago when mega millionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos decided to take a trip to space. The mornings we watched this, I couldn’t help but share with my partner that (in my opinion) it was official; people now had more money than they knew what to do with.
Yes, I realize space travel is of interest to many. I remember all the talks of paying for trips to Mars “someday.” Yet I still didn’t get it.
As we sit in a world, with so much mystery still left to be solved (think disease here), why are our millionaires taking road trips to space?
And then it all made sense early last week, when Jeff Bezos, the founder and Executive Chairman of Amazon, shared that traveling to space changed how he saw nature.
Even as I type this I’m both baffled and entertained by this declaration.
According to reports, Bezos has committed to give away $1 billion in grants to support conservation efforts. Apparently, the pledge is part of the Bezos Earth Fund, his $10 billion commitment to support scientists, activists and organizations working toward addressing climate change.
Okay, now hold on a minute. Am I the only one finding the irony in this man’s epiphany after traveling to space? The very man who founded a company which we all now benefit from by way of “get what you want, when you want it.”
If you are in this same club, then you know where I’m going with this. Every day thousands of vehicles deliver cardboard boxes to homes all over the world. Yes, the world and while overseas deliveries may be a bit less than in the US, United States distribution alone is enough to have great detrimental impact on the environment.
These boxes that arrive daily to homes, yes daily for some, more times than not hold one item – just one – along with plastic and varying other fillers to protect that $20 item. Now I know that there are recycling options for the cardboard, but the plastic? Well not so much.
As Bezos sets his sights on impacting the world via restoring the earth and nature as they know it, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start with his own home base. The very company which created all of his riches.
A few years back, I had a dear friend challenge me on this very topic of Amazon and excessive waste. As I was breaking down boxes and cleaning up our garage from a week of Amazon deliveries, his challenge to me was well received.
“Why doesn’t Amazon have a recycle program?” he asked.
As we talked it through I realized there was actual viability to this idea. Most Amazon customers are repeat customers. How hard would it be to leave previous packaging on the porch, where the new packaging will arrive? Compact and broken down, easy to return to the distribution center for reuse.
This idea is so simple, yet impactful that it honestly feels like a no brainer.
So, inspired by this conversation (close to three years ago), I sent the idea to Amazon and guess what I got back? Crickets. Yes, that would be correct, multiple e-mail attempts returned with no reply other than the auto response.
I’m no Princeton graduate, so Mr. Bezos is one up on me by way of education. I do, however, have a bit of common sense left in my old brain and know that waste has a major impact on our environment.
All one need do is Google “how does garbage affect climate change” and the page goes nuts.
So as Mr. Bezos gains media attention for his generosity and act as a Good Samaritan, let’s not forget he founded one of the very companies which is contributing a substantial amount of this waste. Go figure.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.