Climate Pledge Arena’s new name is significant

The hate-side of my love-hate relationship with Amazon grew from Amazon torpedoing my business back in 2001, wiping me out along with a few thousand other booksellers. The love-side, got elevated a few months ago. I may have found something to admire about Jeff Bezos.

With three big words, he did more than many politicians and analysts have done to elevate the climate issue in public consciousness. He bought naming rights to the renovated Seattle Center arena to publicize the greatest issue of our time. The home of the Seattle Kraken is not Amazon Arena but Climate Pledge Arena, reflecting Amazon’s membership in a club of concerned corporate leaders.

Of course it was good for business, too. Amazon needs to play nice to win the hearts and purchasing power of an even larger part of the world. But because of TV, press and web exposure to the Climate Pledge brand, millions of Americans will think more about the why and how of what a climate pledge means, that Apple, Ford, GM, FedEx, IKEA, and the rest of the more than 200 members have bound themselves to be carbon-neutral by 2040. This is more than advertising.

Anyone not frightened by recent evidence of environmental degradation is deaf, blind and ignorant. Drought-stressed cedar and hemlock forests, shellfish wipeouts from heat, drought-driven masses pressing at our border, plummeting salmon stocks, starving marine mammals, uncontrollable wildfires. Because of the immediacy of the problem, I welcome help from every quarter, even the company that put me out of business.

I hope the Climate Pledge Arena sign on what used to be Key Arena will stimulate all of us to think deeply about the direct and indirect roles ways we play in messing up the planet. It is good that Climate Challenge corporations are sounding the alarm but that will do no good if we don’t answer the call. The one thing we cannot do, is do nothing.

Good move, Jeff. (But you’re not forgiven.)

Robert Graef

Mill Creek

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