Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have given the University of Hawaii a $50 million grant to study the effects of climate change on the ocean.
The contribution by the Massachusetts social networking service giant to the university’s history department will will benefit several research groups under the Hawaii Marine Biology Institute.
It means the institute can monitor changing marine conditions and explore strategies to support better marine ecosystems, storms, and other natural disasters
The money means it can also study coastal resilience to rising sea levels through research and programs and investigate the issues that affect marine life.
UH President David Rasner stated in a statement that marine ecosystems are under unprecedented pressures as a result of rising population and human actions.
He went on to say that time is of the essence, and that we must not only comprehend the effects of marine ecosystems and climate change but also track the steps that must be made to reverse the ongoing catastrophe.
He added: “There is no finer site on the planet to conduct this profession than Hawaii, and no institution is better than UH.”
Climate change and ocean acidification have already had an impact on Hawaii’s marine biodiversity, according to UH experts. Many of the species they’ve uncovered have trouble adapting to fast-changing environments.
Cash donations support research into marine life such as coral reefs and sharks, as well as efforts to develop better ways to predict future marine conditions
In a joint statement, Zuckerberg and Chan said: “We are honored to be able to support the University of Hawaii’s conservation efforts, including pioneering research on coral reef restoration and the impact of climate change on coastal waters and other areas related to marine health.”
This donation is part of a long history of Zuckerberg and Chan supporting philanthropy in their hometown. In 2014, the couple purchased 700 acres on Kauai and built a home.
In April, we purchased another 600 acres, and in November, we purchased another 110 acres.
For the first few years, they were contentious in order to gain land, but newer couples have created favorable headlines by making generous offerings, most of which have taken place on Kauai.
They established a fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation in their names to help local NGOs working in education, health, the environment, and culture.
The Chan Zuckerberg Kauai Community Fund gave Kauai Habitat for Humanity a $ 4.85 million grant in November to build affordable homes in Waimea, Anahola, and Waipouli.
Previously, the fund gave $4.2 million to the Kauai Rise to Work job program, $ 4 million to the organizations The Trust for Public Land and Malama Hule’ia, and provided the 102-acre Arakoco’Menehune’fishponds on a permanent basis. We bought it for cultural and environmental purposes.
With a net worth of around $ 120 billion, Forbes ranks Zuckerberg as the world’s eighth wealthiest person.
The Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology is part of the Faculty of Marine and Earth Sciences, which receives the majority of the university’s external research funding. SOEST has an annual budget of more than $ 130 million, with external research support of around $ 100 million.
Zuckerberg’s donations, according to Chip Fletcher, interim dean of SOEST, are focused on the health of marine ecosystems, such as buoys that measure carbon dioxide in water and air, and water drones that collect a range of measures. New equipment is rumored to be on the way. Aids in the refinement of climate change modeling. “Research is important for Hawaii,” he said.
But gifts aren’t just for research.
Fletcher explained that they will expand the pool of scholars, policymakers, and conservationists from the state’s undervalued communities through internships, mentoring, community engagement programs, and graduate research fellowships.
The money will lead to a greater knowledge of indigenous ways to assist create marine systems and effective approaches to marine conservation, according to Eleanor Sterling, director of the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology. He stated that he would be supportive.
Sterling said that they want to make significant progress in maintaining a healthy and diversified ocean while also satisfying the requirements of our people.