Dear Elon/Technoking of Tesla,
Congratulations! Soon, you will have more cash than King Solomon’s entire wealth.
What can you do with this enormous sum? Donating some of the cash is a good option. I’m not familiar with the AMT and charitable deductions (consult your tax army). You may get some financial benefit. Even without, these are worthy cleantech causes. We will rely upon our savvy readers to add more good options in the comments. How’s a donation of $25 million each to start?
#TeamSeas — Team Seas is aiming to raise $30 million to clean up 30 million pounds of ocean trash. Famous YouTubers such as Mr. Beast and Mark Rober are leading the charge. You have donated millions to #TeamTrees. #TeamsSeas is halfway to its goal. Add to your legacy by ridding the ocean of plastic trash and ghosted fishing equipment.
I have been a fan of Charity: Water for a long time. Its goal is bringing clean and safe water to everyone. According to the website, 785 million lack access to clean, safe drinking water. The site says access to clean water is life changing for women and girls. You have donated to help the residents of Flint recover from their water crisis. Many millions around the world are in the same or worse predicament.
Rainforest Alliance has been around for ages. They “…are building an alliance to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.” We know rainforests are valuable for preserving diversity and as huge carbon sinks. Their impact stretches throughout the world.
Preserving Outdoor Spaces
The Sierra Club is famous for its environmental advocacy. Today, it is focused on moving beyond fossil fuels and preserving wild spaces from harmful development. A donation here preserves the outdoors for future generations.
The Union of Concerned Scientists — Elon, you are pro-science and first principles. This organization is using science to make change happen. It is focused on research on the world’s most pressing issues, fighting misinformation, defending science, communicating with the public, and mobilizing its supporters to advocate for change. Supporting UCS helps fight back as massive fortunes and investments in fossil fuels are lost.
Tesla’s mission is accelerating the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to the world as soon as possible. You said so yourself 8 years ago. This is part of a broader effort to switch to renewable energy and a net-zero carbon future.
350.org wants to stop fossil fuel development and close down existing plants as quickly as possible as well, moving to 100% renewable energy and electric vehicles. The means to get there are available, and the will to make it happen is increasing. This seems like a perfect way to support Tesla’s mission from another angle.
As the world transitions to fully using renewable energy, the education system will need to adjust. Tesla faces an acute shortage engineers and programmers. As more companies join the movement you have started, demands for skilled labor will increase. Leading US research universities in the country have teamed up to form edx.org.
Their vision is simple: “As a mission-driven organization, we’re relentlessly pursuing our vision of a world where every learner can access education to unlock their potential, without the barriers of cost or location.” Think of the possibilities of grooming 100 more geniuses like yourself. All of humanity, the Earth, and Mars could benefit.
Love of Physics
I had a chance in college to take physics as my major. I didn’t see anything interesting until junior year. I skipped it. It’s a regret I now have.
Had Khan Academy been available when I was growing up, I would have learned physics on the side. It’s not too late! I plan to learn physics, even as an adult. I am in awe of your ability to do advanced rocketry equations in your head. You built SpaceX and Tesla on a foundation of what the laws of physics allows. Think of how many people could learn physics with your support. Khan Academy estimates 617 million people are missing basic math and reading skills.
Fact-Based, Cleantech-Aware Media
This is self-promoting. 😀 CleanTechnica is not a nonprofit. The world needs dedicated media professionals that understand cleantech and can explain it — on the basis of facts, not hidden agendas and disinformation. Looking at the state of the world’s major media organizations, the lack of knowledgeable cleantech media folks is low. More money for CleanTechnica would allow us to hire more full-time writers, expand our EV and renewable energy coverage, grow our reach on YouTube and social media, and fight fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) as the renewable energy transformation moves ahead. Until we get AI-aware algorithms that can sort out misinformation, having dedicated professionals promoting cleantech facts seems like a good idea.
Elon, however you spend your money, you have a large task ahead. You want to ensure the money serves a good purpose, most of the funds go towards the targeted cause, and that the donations make a difference and improve the world. You will need a large team of people to help you. Mackenzie Scott is a great example to follow. In 2020, she gave away $5.8 billion of her wealth, and a further $2.7 billion in 2021. She gave the money to worthy causes, with no strings attached. She quickly and efficiently distributed the money, which is no small feat. I hope you can achieve similar success on this front.
I wish you well in your philanthropic adventures.
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