Fortnite is a game created by Tim Sweeney, and has become one of the biggest games of this decade. Its creator has been working for decades and managed to develop various interactive and intricate realms in the digital world for players.
In the 1990’s, he founded Epic Games, a video and 3-D software company, that produced various popular games, including Gears of War, Unreal Tournament, and Fortnite. Tim soon became a billionaire, but this made him a bigger philanthropist, who tried his best to protect the beautiful western Carolina mountains.
In the last decade, he spent millions of dollars to support conservation projects in North Carolina, in order to save its forest. He bought 40,000 acres of land, and donated money to various conservation parcel projects, like an expansion of 1,500 acres to Mount Mitchell State Park.
In November 2016, he donated $15 million for a conservation project in order to protect 7,000 acres of the Box Creek Wilderness. This forest is located in the historic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Being untouched, a large corporation wanted to carve up the land and use it to run power lines to other places. Additionally, Sweeney protected hundreds of endangered animal and plant species in the area by protecting it.
According to the biologist Kevin Caldwell:
“Ecologists documented more than 130 rare and watch-list plant and wildlife species, and several new-to‐science wildlife and plant species, including three moths and a new spiderwort species.”
“It’s one of the most diverse areas in North Carolina. It has such rare plant and wildlife species, it seemed a perfect fit with the Fish and Wildlife Service. This is a first step – there will be other places protected. The goal is to connect South Mountains State Park to Chimney Rock. This is one piece of the puzzle.”
Moreover, a year later, the man bought 193 acres in Alamance County for $1.973 million, and after securing the land, Jose Kellher, who is a representative of Sweeney, guaranteed that the land would not be developed. Last year, he bought a 1,500 acre place called Stone Hills, and protected it from being turned into a golf resort community.
“I bought this land because it has a nice longleaf pine forest and was available for a reasonable price. I’ll be holding it until I find a permanent nature conservation home for it, which will take years or decades.”
When he was asked about his short term plans for the land, he replied:
“I just plan to hike it and do some tree thinning and burning for ecosystem restoration until I find a permanent conservancy or state home for it.”
The Mind Unleashed wrote:
“Sweeney’s conservation efforts come at a time when protecting our nation’s forests has become increasingly important. A study led by North Carolina State University professor Nick Haddad and conducted by 24 scientists, found that there are only 2 truly intact forests left on Earth.
When the study’s authors examined the effects of human involvement on forests, they found habitat fragmentation leads to 13 to 75 percent decrease in plant and animal diversity, reduces the ability of animals and plants to survive and can even distort the food chain, as smaller patches of forest tend to have an increase in predator population.
Thankfully, as science continues to learn more about the importance of undeveloped forest land, billionaire philanthropists are noticing and taking action. China’s wealthiest man has also taken note of the importance of conservation. In 2015, Jack Ma, the billionaire behind online retail giant Alibaba, purchased 28,000 acres of land in the Adirondack mountains of upstate NY. His first action taken after purchasing the land was to halt logging operations.”
Let’s hope that actions of this kind will inspire other people who have the needed wealth, power, and influence, to do good, save the environment, and help the community.