Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Today, Elon Musk passed Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world. Elon Musk has created his companies to solve problems that otherwise would probably not be solved. Tesla is a great example of this.
Tesla started out as an electric carmaker, but morphed into a technology company that is solving many problems. Each problem is just one aspect of a much larger problem: the looming threat of a planet that is heating up.
I just want to know something — why haven’t the world’s wealthiest people been focused on this problem in the way that Elon Musk has been? Sure, a few companies, such as Amazon and Apple, have their net-zero goals or their polished corporate initiatives marketed to their investors and clients as their way of helping to solve climate change. But they aren’t specifically focused on reducing the problem beyond their own operations. It’s great, but it doesn’t solve the core problem.
Tesla is completely focused on reducing emissions. Our planet is choking on toxic pollution caused by CO2 NOx and other emissions that are linked to heart disease, lung disease, and other health issues. Air pollution has even been linked to Covid-19 deaths. And the main contributor toward air pollution is the global transportation industry–emissions from tailpipes. When you have billions of people on the planet burning gas and diesel just to go to and from points A and B, as well as other places such as the store, vacations, etc., it’s easy to see just how quickly those toxic fumes will fill up the air.
“I always invest my own money in the companies that I create. I don’t believe in the whole thing of just using other people’s money. I don’t think that’s right. I’m not going to ask other people to invest in something if I’m not prepared to do so myself.” — Elon Musk
With Tesla, Elon Musk and company cofounders set out to eliminate this problem. This was something that many deemed impossible, silly, or just plain insane. Critics lauded Tesla as a mere wannabe automaker that would go bankrupt, would never even sell EVs, and would never mass produce electric vehicles. They would say this for every new vehicle announced: “It’s vaporware. It won’t happen. It doesn’t exist.”
Yet Tesla prevailed and it is now the most valuable automaker on the planet, a member of the S&P 500, and, as noted above, Elon Musk just passed Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person. Elon deserves it. He is a person who has a good heart and cares enough about his following that he takes the time to encourage us, help us, and even ask for our input on things such as designing his vehicles. He even once mentioned the words “great product” in regards to my jewelry when I asked him about using Boring Bricks to make jewelry. And he has poured his sweat, blood, tears, and money into his own products.
What Does Elon Musk Do With His Money?
I wrote about this on Medium back in November as a response to the attacks Robert Reich made on him basically just for being a billionaire. The truth is that Reich, I believe, does have good intentions when it comes to standing up to Trump and in general, but in regards to Elon Musk, he didn’t do the research, which is really sad. However, this isn’t about misguided critics who are trying to stand up to who they think the oppressors are — this is about what Elon Musk is doing with his hard-earned money.
Elon Musk is literally using his money to solve major problems. I listed a few examples in that Medium post that I will add here:
- Flint Water Crisis
- LA Fire Department Firefighting Robot
- Planting Trees
- Hurricane Laura Aftermath
- Supporting the ACLU
These are just some of the things he has done through his charity, The Musk Foundation. However, the bulk of his wealth is divided into two parts:
- Helping Critical Energy & Pollution Problems on Earth — Tesla
- Establishing A Self-Sustaining City on Mars/Preserving the Light of Consciousness — SpaceX.
It should be noted that Elon’s massive wealth is going toward issues that he truly cares about and feels that he has to solve. These problems are so vast that many scratch their heads, say it’s impossible, and continue on with their day to day lives. Not Elon. He focuses on these problems and aims to solve them.
Becoming the world’s richest person is not the easiest thing to do. However, Elon has achieved this while not even trying to. Upon finding out about it on Twitter, his response was classic Elon: Back to work.
I’m not in the camp that all billionaires are bad, taking advantage of the poor, or trying to use us. Many are, but not all of them. If you actually take the time to research Elon Musk and all that he has done through his companies — and all that he is still doing — you realize that, to him, money is just a tool for him to use to keep making his dreams come true. And his dreams are about helping humanity.
Chamath Palihapitiya, who told CNBC that Elon Musk was someone he has known and looked up to for a long time, said it best:
“He built the great car company and somewhere along the way — you know about five or six years ago — what I thought he was building was an energy company and that eventually, people would realize that climate change actually mattered. And it’s taken five or six years for everybody to realize the same thing and he’s being rewarded. The world’s richest person should be somebody that’s fixing and fighting climate change. I think the reality is that Tesla’s a distributed energy business. They are figuring out how to harness energy, how to store it, and how to use it in a way to allow humans to be productive.”
I agree with Palihapitiya, and although I personally will never understand what that type of wealth is like, knowing that someone who actually cared about my own situation a few years ago when he had no connection to me, someone who encouraged me to keep going in one of my darkest hours, is now the world’s wealthiest person warms my heart. Why? Because Elon Musk has a good heart and he’s in it for all of us. I’d rather him instead of a CEO who allows his workers to be dependent on food stamps because he doesn’t pay them enough.
Original Publication by Johnna Crider at CleanTechnica.
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