Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sánchez Visit Colombia to Learn About Deforestation After $10B Earth Fund Commitment

Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sánchez toured Colombia's Chiribiquete National Park, where groups supported by the Bezos Earth Fund are ramping up conservation efforts

Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez
Photo: Bezos Earth Fund

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his partner Lauren Sánchez recently visited a Colombian national park to learn about the environmental problems facing the region.

The couple traveled through the Amazon's Chiribiquete National Park, the largest protected area in Colombia. Once there, Colombian President Ivan Duque gave Bezos and Sánchez, Emmy Award-winning journalist, a tour of the park to illustrate why its protection is so important.

Chiribiquete suffered major deforestation between September 2021 and February 2022, when some 4,942 acres were destroyed, according to Reuters. Much of the park's destruction occurred as a result of increased logging efforts, cattle ranching and other damaging activities, the outlet reported.

More than 14,800 acres of Chiribiquete have been deforested since 2018, according to the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project.

Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez
Bezos Earth Fund

The couple toured the park as part of their work for the Bezos Earth Fund, an initiative they launched to help fight climate change.

Bezos, 58, first announced the fund in February 2020, saying it would provide $10 billion to scientists and organizations who are working to save the planet from the effects of rising temperatures.

"Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet," Bezos explained at the time. "I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share."

Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez
Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sánchez touring Colombia's Chiribiquete National Park. Bezos Earth Fund

"This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world," he continued. "We can save Earth. It's going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation-states, global organizations and individuals."

The fund has since provided $171 million to conversation efforts to the Tropical Andes, a biodiversity hotspot that runs throughout Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.

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Bezos is currently the second wealthiest person on the planet with a net worth of $166 billion, according to Bloomberg.

He stepped down as CEO of Amazon in February 2021 and has since focused his efforts on conservation and his space exploration company, Blue Origin. Sánchez, 52, has been with him each step of the way.

"Both Jeff and Lauren are really energized by the work they are doing in philanthropy," a source told PEOPLE in June 2021. "It's been a focus and bright spot for them, particularly over the last year."

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