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Earth will one day become ‘Yellowstone National Park’

Jeff Bezos wears a cowboy hat and holds aviation goggles that belonged to Amelia Earhart as he speaks during a press conference about his New Shepard Blue Origin flight into space on July 20, 2021.

Photo: Joe Radl (Getty Images)

Renowned ecologist Jeff Bezos shared his vision of planet Earth. It is not enough for the people living here to protect it. No. Instead, according to the second richest man on the planet, future generations “will visit Earth the same way you visit Yellowstone National Park.”

It turns out that while we were all playing checkers, talking about space tourism, Bezos plays 3D chess. Everyone is focused on billionaires sending people To v edge of space… But Bezos’s grand plan is actually to send all of humanity into space with the ability to visit Earth again, as so many tourists visit the national parks every summer.

Comments arrived last week at event at the National Cathedral in Washington DC with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and othersalking about space policy. Bezos had a one-on-one interview with editor Adi Ignatius.v-Head of Harvard Business Review. He brought up topics we’ve heard before, including his vision that everyone polluting industries will exist in space one day we all live in space colonies it could, he estimates, support 1 trillion people. But he elaborated on his vision of exactly what will happen to the planet that we will all leave behind the space colonies under the Blue Origin brand.

“This is the most precious planet in the world, and we must preserve and preserve it, as well as ensure that our children, their children and other people have this beauty in their lives,” – said Bezos.

A couple of weeks ago at the United Nations climate talks, Bezos raised his conservation commitment to only $ 3 billion his 10 billion dollars Earth Fund… In a conversation with Ignatius, he said that he does not view this money and Blue Origin as two separate things, but rather as a “duality”.

“We need to preserve what we have, restore what we have lost,” he said. “This planet is so small that if we want to continue to grow as a civilization, using energy as a civilization, most of this needs to be done outside the planet. … This place is special. You cannot spoil it. “

To do this, we will all need to live in space colonies. Ultimately, in Bezos’s vision, Earth will remain a place that future humans will visit, but not live. “They can visit Earth the same way you visit Yellowstone National Park,” Bezos said. Ignatius asked who would live on Earth in this vision, but Bezos did not answer. (Which is unfortunate because I would like to know!)

Significantly, Bezos’ vision of Earth’s future is Yellowstone National Park, a place people visit rather than live. As a former park ranger, I have a contractual obligation to say that national parks are cool and good. But they are also an extremely Western construct of what is considered “natural.” Yellowstone became a park because the Americans were preoccupied with the predatory exploitation of the West as part of the entire Manifest Destiny project to colonize the region. Today, no one but the park rangers and staff lives within the park, and there are strict rules prohibiting hunting and the removal of any resources from the park.

In fact, humans were just as much a part of Yellowstone before the park was founded. The tribes used it as a hunting ground and gathering resources. An about 27 tribes have ties to Yellowstone from a geographic range from North Dakota to Washington. But while the tribes are involved to some extent in the creation of the park, the park itself cannot tell these stories, nor the fact that it is, in fact, stolen land.

Seen in this light, Bezos’ big idea of ​​turning Earth into Yellowstone overlooks the fact that humans are equally part of this planet as they were part of Yellowstone before the Americans came along. It offers a very western solution to the most western problem of climate change and environmental degradation, problems that Bezos’s own business played an important role in enriching it to the point that it now has a huge impact on the next step of humanity.

I’m not saying this to question Bezos’s good intentions. Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.Who wouldn’t want to protect what is still beautiful and restore what has lost its luster due to human actions? But although “what if pollution, but in space” and trips to Earth can have a sheen of sci-fi chic, they also show a lack of imagination as to what the solutions look like for those of us who live here now. Meanwhile, study after study shows that Aboriginal tribes have an incredible conservation track record. V #landback movement and Indigenous-led protests Against increased loot, show another way forward that will reunite us with the planet rather than making it a weekend visit.

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