By Maukh Saha
Back in 2016, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hollywood’s veteran sweetheart, won hearts in the film The Revenant and won an Academy Award for his role in it; his first in all his years in the film industry.
Unlike all other stars, he cited that the climate and the environment are inspirations for him and called upon the world to do some good by preserving nature and natural resources.
Since then, and even before, he has been a vocal advocate of ethical conservation, anti-extinction efforts, and relief efforts.
But he has done something now that will awe you: he has donated $100 million to various charities that combat climate change. As a frame of reference, the president and ruling party of his own country deny climate change and think it is a hoax and have pulled out of various conservation-centric treaties.
He had already established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, whose very motto is: ‘protecting the world’s last wild places and saving vulnerable wildlife from extinction’, soon after his success.
That was twenty years ago after he achieved worldwide fame for his role as Jack Dawson, the passionate artist who roamed the world in the classic movie Titanic.
And in those two decades, with his rising portfolio as a theatrical artist par excellence, his portfolio as a philanthropist too, has reached greater and greater heights. His foundation has already worked on over two hundred projects in more than fifty countries and five oceans, supporting more than 132 organizations in the process.
Almost as a celebration of the two decades of its existence, the Foundation donated one hundred million dollars to organizations “on the front line” fighting various environmental crises their countries face, mostly created by men.
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Despite the negative criticism from many circles about him not worrying about his own purported decadence (use of a private jet, etc.) and carbon footprint, no one can deny the fact that the initiative is huge. At this juncture, it must be noted that DiCaprio’s own home is powered by solar energy and he is purportedly vegan because of his stance against the large-scale abattoir industry, which runs on a huge amount of fossil fuels.
The thespian has also served in many capacities on the boards of various organizations including Global Green USA, WWF, and International Fund for Animal Welfare.
He had also led the Earth Day celebrations in 2000, and brought up many issues like global warming and manmade pollutants to the forefront while discussing things with the erstwhile Democrat President Bill Clinton.
His foundation also organized an art exhibition, where the patrons were urged ‘to bid as if the fate of the planet’ depended on it. This event, which was a zero-waste event, powered by renewable energy and used organic foods only, was the world’s highest grossing environmental charity event, grossing out at a whopping $40 million dollars.
He has continually donated large lump sums to relief funds, for example, the Haiti Earthquake fund and has continuously protested against issues like palm oil industries cutting down rainforests in Indonesia (refer to a wonderful ad titled ‘the orangutan in my bedroom’ which was banned in the UK for being ‘too political’). And of course, the infamous Dakota Access Pipeline which has been on the news for years for its potentially fatal effect on the nearby ecosystems.
Right now, he is also concerned with saving the last 30 individual vaquitas (a small porpoise endemic only to the California Bay) and combatting plastic pollution.
Let’s help him out and do our part, living more environmentally conscious lives.
IMAGE CREDIT1: kodda
IMAGE CREDIT2: Wikimedia