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UN chief tells Musk and Bezos to stop ‘joyriding to space while millions go hungry’

With so many problems on Earth, many fairly question why billionaires are so keen to get to space—rather than sort out our problems down here.

Now, even the Secretary-General of the United Nations seems to agree, as António Guterres used his opening address to world leaders to slam the likes of Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos for “joyriding to space while millions go hungry on Earth.”

Speaking in front of the likes of Boris Johnson and the U.S. President Joe Biden, Guterres urged leaders to take action on climate change, inequality, and overall, “mistrust” of politicians. He said people see “corruption around them” and “no future at all” while the wealthy jet off to the stars.



(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 28, 2019 Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic (C) poses next to George T. Whitesides (R), CEO of Virgin Galactic Holdings after ringing the First Trade Bell to commemorate the company's first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City. - British billionaire Richard Branson plans to travel to space as early as July 11 aboard a Virgin Galactic spacecraft, his company said in a statement on July 1, 2021. If the schedule holds, Branson would make it to the cosmos before rival billionaire Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who said he would travel to space aboard a spacecraft belonging to his company Blue Origin on July 20. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Richard Branson flew to the edge of Earth’s stratosphere earlier this summer

The UN chief’s intervention came just days after all-civilian Inspiration4 mission—funded by tech billionaire Jared Isaacman and operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX—splash landed back to Earth.

Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson both took private spaceflights in the summer. These flights cost billions. Jeff Bezos’ flight alone cost $5.5 billion dollars—roughly the same amount that the UK government has put into a rescue package for the NHS.



Mandatory Credit: Photo by EDUARDO MUNOZ/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (12455701k)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, USA, 21 September 2021.
76th Session of the UN General Assembly, New York, USA - 21 Sep 2021
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres complained about billionaires to world leaders at the UN

There has been increased pressure for the world’s wealthiest people to pay their taxes. Boris Johnson says he confronted Jeff Bezos about Amazon’s failure in the UK to pay taxes.

Bezos believes it is the responsibility of government to tax big tech companies efficiently, and that Amazon wouldn’t voluntarily pay more than required by law.



(FILES) This file handout photo taken on April 24, 2015 obtained courtesy of Blue Origin shows Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas launch facility before the rocket's maiden voyage. - Jeff Bezos sets his sights on a new frontier in space in the coming days after building a gargantuan business empire which has in many ways conquered the Earth. (Photo by - / BLUE ORIGIN / AFP) / == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE / MANDATORY CREDIT: "AFP PHOTO / BLUE ORIGIN" / NO MARKETING / NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS / DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS == (Photo by -/BLUE ORIGIN/AFP via Getty Images)
FILES-US-SPACE-TOURISM-BLUEORIGIN-BEZOS
Jeff Bezos pledged $1 billion to conservation after seeing the planet from above

However, the Amazon founder claims he realised just how “fragile” Earth is when he was looking down at it from space, and pledged to donate $1 billion dollars to conservation projects around the world.

“Living down here, the world and the atmosphere seem vast and they seem stable,” He made these remarks at a launch party this week. “But looking back at Earth from there, the atmosphere seems thin and the world finite. Both beautiful, both fragile.”

UN chief tells Musk and Bezos to stop 'joyriding to space while millions go hungry'
Anurag Reddy
I'm a 29-year-old travel enthusiast, travel and nature photographer, Computer Science graduate, and Mass Communication student. I have seen different shades of life through traveling and lived different lives through reading. With every word I write, I travel within, and I understand myself better. Writing helps me discover myself, and that paved roads for me to choose writing as a profession.
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