Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia donates $25 million to The Ocean Cleanup
Entrepreneur Joe Gebbia donated $25 million to The Ocean Cleanup on Thursday to support the nonprofit’s efforts to remove plastic from the world’s oceans and rivers.
Experts in the field hail both the donation and the attention to the issue of ocean sustainability, noting that it receives least funding of all the UN Sustainable Development Goals. According to the World Economic Forum, approximately 175 billion dollars a year are needed to protect the oceans, but between 2015 and 2019 less than $10 billion in total was invested in the cause.
Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and Samara and president of Airbnb.org, said he was proud to partner with the nonprofit, which said his donation was the largest in its history. .
“The Ocean Cleanup has created systems and technology that really work at scale,” Gebbia said in a statement to The Associated Press. “In order for them to deploy in our oceans and rivers, they now need to increase their funding. I hope this donation can inspire others to take action.
The Ocean Cleanup aims to remove existing plastic floating in the ocean, particularly in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as well as to reduce the amount of plastic that flows into the oceans. The nonprofit organization removed approximately 440,000 pounds of plastic from the Garbage Patch, which consists of approximately 220 million pounds of plastic located between Hawaii and California.
“Joe’s continued support of The Ocean Cleanup’s mission directly impacts our operations around the world,” Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, said in a statement. “Thanks, in part, to his generous help, we are able to scale up our work in the oceans and rivers, helping us achieve our goal of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic.”
Daniela Fernandez, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Sustainable Ocean Alliance, which helps young leaders connect to work on solving issues threatening ocean health, said many donors don’t realize the support for climate change programs does not necessarily promote ocean well-being. She said Gebbia’s donation is a sign of change.
“I think we’re seeing philanthropists paying more attention,” said Fernandez, whose group co-sponsors Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit in Panama later this month to discuss the cleanup and other possible solutions to ocean problems. “I think it’s really exciting to see this great support taking place.”
Fernandez said it’s important to encourage and empower young people because they can come up with important new ideas.
“They are frustrated,” she said. “But now you see this area of entrepreneurship where people say, ‘Not only do I want to be mad and write a letter or sign a petition, I actually want to roll up my sleeves and build a mangrove forest in my backyard. . or organize a coral reef planting campaign for my community. We see so many ideas.
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