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LETTER: Instead of space travel, billionaires should tackle issues on Earth

'We, the people, have the power to urge (Jeff Bezos) to do the right thing,' says reader
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled 'Jeff Bezos blasts into space on own rocket: 'Best day ever'' published on May 21. 

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is the richest man in the world.

In 2020, Jeff Bezos earned more than $6 billion a month. Just to put his astounding wealth into perspective, in the 11 minutes he spent in space his personal wealth increased by over a million dollars.

Jeff Bezos has had a long reputation for treating his employees with contempt, by paying them poverty-triggering wages with a minimum of benefits, while forcing them to endure miserable working conditions resulting in many injuries. The Atlantic noted in 2018 that Amazon’s warehouses had twice the number of injuries on average than any other warehouse floors in the U.S.

The main reasons for the higher rate of injuries than the rest of the country can be attributed to Amazon’s “obsession with speed.”

According to PYMNTS data, Amazon took 51.2 per cent of total U.S. digital retail sales in 2020, up an incredible 48 per cent from 2019.

If you regularly buy from Amazon you cannot rightly complain about traffic jams. You are part of the problem!

Every year, the return rate of items bought from Amazon is between five to 15 per cent – more trucks, more congestion, and more pollution. Amazon considers a 10 per cent return rate normal.

As well, a huge number of packages bought from Amazon are stolen every single year. It is quite mind-boggling to imagine how many more trucks unnecessarily end up clogging our highways when replacing these stolen items.

Some people point out that he has created all kinds of employment, but the reality is for every job he has created, two often much better jobs are lost in existing businesses, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

As of December 2020, a total of 1.2 million businesses operated in Canada. Of these, 97.9 per cent were small businesses. Small- to medium-sized businesses also provide 45.8 per cent of all jobs in Canada.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 81 per cent have been negatively impacted by the virus and 32 per cent worry about the viability of their businesses in the coming months. Fifty-four per cent report a drop in their businesses while 28 per cent temporarily have had to shut down. About 29 per cent are convinced it might take one to two years for their businesses to return to pre-COVID business volumes.

If we consumers keep supporting this monstrous oligopoly, instead of our small businesses, that is steadily buying up the supply chains and swallowing up small businesses, in no time at all we will have very little choice when looking for items to purchase.

As businesses close down due to vastly reduced customer demand, all levels of government will need to looks elsewhere for their tax base, such as increasing property taxes.

The more trucks Amazon spills out on the roads, the more there will be an unnecessary increase in health damaging pollutants, including greenhouse gases spewing into the environment and, at the same time, increasing traffic jams and destroying roads.

The description of Jeff Bezos as a “cold-blooded corporate titan" could quickly be erased from the history books. He could quickly be referred to as the “super hero without a cape” by making the right decision.

Can you imagine the profound life-changing impacts for all of us here on Earth if Jeff Bezos donated his monthly earning of over $6 billion toward green technologies and bold initiatives to tackle global overheating and climate chaos?

We, the people, have the power to urge him to do the right thing. We all have to let him know that we will buy nothing from Amazon until he does the right thing. Jeff Bezos must immediately start to financially support innovative solutions to mitigate global overheating.

How? I am confident that young brilliant minds will have the logistic strategies to tell the world how to force Jeff Bezos to do the right thing.

Gwen Petreman