Rich Men Can Save the Planet from Space

This article is part of the Creation series. Click here to read the previous and the next one.

I had the pleasure of introducing myself to readers of this column in a previous entry when I graciously agreed to an interview. You can read it here. I strongly advise you to do so. My ideas make for compulsive reading. And if you still don’t know who I am, I am Shoktel Kartington. Yes that’s right, the Kartington. The one and only. The best letter writer in the history of science.

If you are wondering where Kartel Shockington is, then he’s still around. But he was running out of things to say so I offered to step in. It was about time that somebody did really. Some of the ideas coming out in this column have been highly questionable, if not out-right seditious.

So, I’d thought I’d begin my contributions by explaining how we should think, rather how you must think, about conservation philanthropy and how it will save the planet.

You will all have heard the exciting news that Jeff Bezos is going to invest a billion dollars into conservation. That’s over 0.5 percent of his wealth. Talk about generosity! The man is a marvel. When you think about Bezos, ignore the fact that he looks like Dr. Evil. That is completely inappropriate. Dr. Evil was such a small-time crook. After all, it’s not as if he’s intent on reaching into everyone’s lives and extracting the last jots of happiness and fulfilment from the workplace, is it? The comparison is quite absurd. Dr. Evil is vain, ugly and, well, evil. Bezos has that rare form of beauty that only $150 billion can bestow.

I am astonished by some of the reactions to Bezos’ benevolence. Some people criticise it! That is utter foolishness. When someone offers you that amount of money, you don’t ask where it came from. You don’t ask how it was created. You don’t mention workers’ rights, toilet breaks or being the change you want to see in the world. When you are shown the money, you take the money. And then you cultivate a major donor relationship management plan so that you can take some more.

The objections to Bezos’ plan are quite simply absurd. Some people are suggesting that the money will just go to the usual suspects who have the brand presence to make this money look good. It will go into gold-plated pandas, the best possible new logo for Conservation Incorporated, or a bit more ranchland for the Nice Land Conservancy. But these are such pointless objections. Of course these funds must go there. Where else could they usefully go? The main purpose of large-scale philanthropy is to make the philanthropists look and feel good. The entire purpose of a strong conservation NGO brand is to provide that look and feel. This is how it has always been and will always be.

Other people are suggesting that this just typifies what is wrong with conservation. They claim that the world is going to pot because our economic systems and governments encourage us to consume more and more all the time, sucking up ever more resources, creating ever more waste, demanding ever more profits from tightly squeezed or surplus populations, such that eventually people become slaves to capital. They claim that locking nature away in small reserves while these systems remain dominant is simply sticking your head in the sand. They claim that…… SNORE!

Wake me up when you’ve finished belly-aching, you long-haired lefty losers! Anyone who has any sense knows that you are right, in a sort of tiresome, righteous, worthy way. But Bezos is offering $1,000,000,000!!! That’s more zeros than there are males of some species. We need fantasies of wealth like Bezos provides. 

People with benevolence and zeros like Bezos are vital. I christen thee Benezeros! When the world is heating up dangerously, when conservation goals everywhere are threatened and in peril, we need people with his perspective. Very few people have burnt as much rocket fuel as he has for his own personal trip that allowed him to see the world from where he did, even if he ate just veggies for a few days. That takes guts, PR wizardry and, if I may say so, genius.

So, I would like to add my voice to the sensible chorus of right-thinking fellows who are lining up to pat beautiful brother Bezos on the back and tell him he’s a lovely. I would, of course, be willing to add my brand and reputation to help him save the planet, in between space trips. I have already laid plans to demarcate numerous protected areas on the lands of some of the poorest, least politically powerful people in the world that will provide instant verifiable achievements, only good publicity, and some very quick bang for all that buck.

Hoping to hear from you soon Bezos-Baby!

That, dear readers, is how we need to approach conservation philanthropy. I am looking forward to providing more pearls of wisdom in this column in due course. I ought to take the whole thing over really. I promise I will do, but first, I have a confession to make. It is this: I don’t actually yet physically exist. I am the spark of imagination in a being (Dr. Shockington) who is himself a spark of imagination of two humans. That makes me rather special—a squared spark if you will.

I would like to have a physical form however, and so my creators and I have reached a deal. I will be granted one in the next issue of this column. They are absurdly excited about this, MY CREATION DAY!