Climate Activists Ask Jeff Bezos to Buy the Amazon Rainforest

They’re positioning it as an "investment opportunity"

jeff bezos amazon ceo
The video was created by a group of anonymous creatives, whose campaign is not over yet.
Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Sources: Amazon/Getty Images

Donald Trump might not be able to buy Greenland, but a group of activist creatives are hoping that Jeff Bezos will fork over some of his cash to purchase the Amazon rainforest.

It might be a joke, but the sentiment behind it is very real. As fires continue to ravage the world’s largest rainforest, the creatives—who want to remain anonymous—are hoping the video will get people thinking about the dire effects of climate change.

The video asks the Amazon founder, who isn’t exactly known for his philanthropic efforts, to purchase the rainforest and then simply leave it alone to protect the plants and wildlife that live there.

The global group of creatives who worked on the project have ties to Extinction Rebellion, a self-described “international apolitical network” that uses nonviolent action to encourage governments and others in power to act on climate change.

According to a creative director who helped spearhead the project, he and another creative came up with the idea a few weeks ago while on a shoot in Spain. As they reflected on the news of the rainforest burning, and 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg’s weeks-long trek to New York on an emissions-free yacht, they became uncomfortable when steaks were served during lunch since Brazil’s booming agribusiness sector has contributed to the rainforest fires.

“We had to go lay in the grass and look at the trees,” he said. “It was in that moment that we were like, ‘What can we do?’”

They ultimately settled on the idea for the video, which was put together with help from a team of editing and sound design experts.

“The only other Amazon that we know, the one that maybe has a bigger name, is in Seattle. So we started to write a note to Jeff,” he said, noting that eventually the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook might be hearing from the group as well.

“Jeff is a terrible philanthropist who sees wealth in a different way, and we don’t really imagine him responding to it,” he said. “It’s more just for everyone else to have a new way to talk about power and control, and hopefully see the world in a different way.”

He said the group chose to avoid any call-to-actions or brand associations for the initiative in order to keep the focus on the message itself. “We just want people to think or feel,” he said. “It’s the opposite of what we imagine messages like this doing. What if people just sit with it?”

The video does not have any formal media investment behind it, but it was posted on NowThis News, and the creative director Adweek spoke with said some celebrities with connections to the cause will likely post about it at some point, too.

However, he said the group is “starting to have” conversations around putting money behind it, and commended Seventh Generation’s decision to give up commercial airtime on NBC’s Today Show so an ad about the climate crisis could run in its place.

“It is really dreamy to think about having media money put against causes like this,” he said.

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