Wealth is an interesting thing. Some people hold onto every penny for their entire lives just for the sake of it. It becomes a burden when they pass away, their family agonizing over its dispersal more than their death.
There are people who never stack up cash because they spend every penny they have, leaving them in dire situations on occasion, and infuriating others. Wealth in our modern day world is often defined through money — though there are certainly many forms, be it the wealth of love, health, happiness, and so on.
When it comes to the wealth of money, there is often a stigma surrounding the beholder. They are full of themselves, greedy, ruthless. A former fisherman-turned-billionaire from Norway was once one of those businessmen viewed in such a light… until he announced his plans to give most of his fortune away, that is.
Kjell Inge Roekke, the tenth-richest man in Norway, has a net worth of over $2 billion. With a reputation of being “a flamboyant billionaire with an explosive temper and a taste for the supersized, can also call himself an oil baron.”
But in a recent interview with Oslo’s Aftenposen newspaper, he gave people the opportunity to see him in a whole new light, as he revealed plans to use his money for the betterment of society, beginning with a state-of-the-art ship that will perform marine research.
He plans to use the ship to remove five tonnes of plastic daily from the ocean, melting it down to ensure it does no further harm.
From pizza to ship, Roekke clearly knows his money is more meaningful than status, even if his reputation gets in the way.
“I want to give back to society the bulk of what I’ve earned,” he said. “This ship is a part of it. The idea of such a ship has evolved over many years.”
The ship, which will be called REV, short for research expedition vessel, will seek to tackle how to control the ever-growing amount of plastic filling up our waters. It will come fitted with various high-tech features, including air drones, an auditorium, and extensive lab space. Conservation organization WWF will manage the ship, with complete independence.
“We are far apart in [our] views on oil, and we will continue to challenge Røkke when we disagree with him,” WFF chief Nina Jensen said, “but in this project we will meet to collectively make a big difference in the environmental struggle.”
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