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  • Thomas Panton

Are We Going Mad or Did Jeff Bezos Just Fly to Space in a p****?

It sounds like the plot to some terrible erotic comedy starring the world's richest man, but the truth is quite the opposite, and it's anything but laughs.

A photo of a Blue Origin rocket lifting off, set against a cloudy blue sky
Credit: Blue Origin

Two days before my birthday, the world's richest man (at the time of writing) Jeff Bezos flew to space.

Accompanying him in this rather phallic spaceship was an 82-year-old female aviation pioneer and the 18 year old son of a private enquiry firm chief exec.

This may sound very exciting and perhaps even innovative but the truth is, it is worryingly problematic.

Hollow Words

When returning to earth, Bezos thanked "every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this".

The problem with this is exactly as he stated: Amazon, one of the world's largest companies, has a devastatingly large environmental impact. And it has allowed him to set the stage for the super rich to fund their ego driven projects.

In this case, a race to prove who can go to space first: Branson or Bezos.

But what cuts even deeper is that the planet which they have exploited to get to this point is now at breaking point. And instead of creating positive environmental change they're channeling money into personal vanity projects.

I can already hear the Bezos fans screaming at their screens: "He created the $10bn Earth Fund to save this planet!"

When you have a net worth of around $200bn, donating 5% of it still leaves you the richest person on this planet and then some.

It's the equivalent of donating £5 while keeping £95 in your pocket. At this scale, it's not being charitable, it's being stingy. Even as a Brit I know 5% is a pretty small amount to tip when you've received good service. And my oh my has the Earth provided Bezos a good service.

How Big is Amazon?

Let's give some context about just how big Bezos' trillion dollar company is.

Amazon has a larger carbon footprint than two thirds of all countries in the world.

It is so large that represents the equivalent of 85% of Switzerland or Denmark's total emissions.

Amazon funds disinformation campaigns

There are claims from numerous sources that Amazon actually funds climate change denier campaigns. How do we know Bezos' Earth Fund isn't just some crazy expensive greenwashing?

Amazon's troublesome track record on worker's rights

But Amazon's issues aren't just environmental ones. During 2018, there were 193 emergency calls to 11 Amazon warehouses here in the UK.

And there is currently a mass movement to Make Amazon Pay. It's aptly named since in 2019 Amazon paid just 1.2% tax in the United States, where the corporation holds its headquarters. The campaign is backed by the likes of Greenpeace, Progressive International, and UNI Global Union.

So when Bezos thanks his employees for paying for his fun, he's really just slapping them in the face, and telling them to keep helping him get richer.

Aren't There Upsides for Space Exploration?

Ultimately, whilst space is exciting and we are all curious as to what is out there and what that could mean for the future, we live on a beautiful planet which is being exploited, destroyed, and decimated by massive companies with megalomaniac founders.

They could solve so many problems – they've got the resources and contacts, and we all know they've got the money.

But, instead, what we get is a rich white man joy riding in a metal p**** around a planet

Meanwhile communities watch their landscapes burn and pollution rise.

So of course scenes of popping expensive champagne and laughing like a cartoon villain are going to make your stomach churn. I mean seriously, watch the video. It's scary.

A photo of Earth from space, a satellite visible in the top right corner

A Better Shopping Platform

This is why we started Canopey. We need to challenge the mindset, to offer a true alternative to supporting these people and these companies.

And ultimately to be able to live the way we want but in a sustainable way.

The business world is going to be shaken up, and this is just the start.

Bye for now,

Thomas Panton

Founder & CEO

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