The list of cool things you can ask Alexa to do is long, and now you can add "plant a tree" to it. Owners of Alexa-enabled devices can say, "Alexa, grow a tree," and Alexa will actually do it — or at least enlist an actual human to do it.
The Grow a Tree initiative is part of Amazon's greater sustainability initiatives to help with the climate crisis, Amazon announced this week. Customers in the U.S. can donate $1 to plant a tree every time they tell the voice assistant to grow a tree, which can be tracked in their Amazon Pay account. In addition to that money, Amazon says it's donating $1 million to One Tree Planted, an environmental charity organization it's partnering with.
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The money raised will go towards four projects in the U.S. and India: forest fire restoration in California, orca whale protection in the Pacific Northwest, surface mine restoration in Appalachia, and planting fruit trees in India.
Some may argue that Amazon's initiatives are distracting from the bigger issues that require immediate action to help protect against climate change, like tremendously cutting down on pollution. Amazon's carbon footprint continues to grow, with its greenhouse gas emissions reaching 20% higher in 2020 than in 2019, according to Amazon's latest sustainability report.
Planting trees can do a lot of good and can certainly make people feel good while doing it, but perhaps Amazon should start by fixing the bigger problem — Amazon.