How could my teenage years have passed without watching the movies of Leonardo Di Caprio?His chiseled face, neat looks and remarkable acting has girls swooning over him. He is one of the most successful and multi-talented actors in Hollywood. He can get into the shoes of any character and portray it effortlessly. He has captivated audiences all over the world with his brilliant performances in movies such as ‘The Revenant’, ‘Blood Diamond’, ‘Inception’, ‘Titanic’, ‘The Shutter Island’ and the list goes on.
His stellar efforts to protect the environment place him in a separate league and set him apart from other actors. He is a highly dedicated environment conservationist and climate change activist. Leonardo Di Caprio has made consistent efforts to conserve wildlife, marine life, and indigenous communities as well as overcome climate change. He has been constantly educating himself about endangered species in the world, renewable forms of energy, climate change and its impacts and other sustainable forms of living.
In this day and age, where even governments and politicians are doing very little regarding the environment and tackling climate change, an individual making so many efforts globally is highly commendable!
He started the Leonardo Di Caprio foundation (LDF) in 1998 with a goal to conserve the world’s last wild places and wildlife. Since then, LDF is working on various other issues such as protecting oceans, reforestation, restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities.
LDF’s main focus is on 6 subjects, i.e. Wildlands Conservation, Oceans Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Transforming Communities, and Innovation Solutions.
From 1998 till today, LDF has been very efficient and has contributed over $100 million towards grants to more than 200 environmentalist projects spanning over 50 countries and 5 oceans. Some of the major initiatives and contributions by LDF have been:
1.Contribution of $ 1 million towards Nepalese conservation project for saving the tigers from extinction(2010),
2.Identification of illegal ivory trade and cartels operating in Thailand and sponsoring a petition before the government for ending ivory trade (2013).
3.Contribution of $ 7 million for marine life preservation at ‘Our Oceans Conference’ (2014).
4.Contributed $10 million towards clean development projects and $15 million to environmental organizations that have developed new technologies. (2015-16)
5.Saving Vaquita, a critically endangered porpoise and its habitat in the waters of the Gulf of California. (2017)
6.Protecting and preserving endangered species such as the Black Rhino in Tanzania, lowland gorilla in Central Africa, snow leopard in Central Asia, and the African Wild dog, etc.
7.Providing funds and grants to organizations working for the protection of the Leuser ecosystem in Sumatra.
There are many other such projects which the LDF has funded and supported. Leonardo Di Caprio has collaborated with many scientists, environmentalists, and politicians to learn about the problems affecting our planet and has taken effective action through his foundation.
He has also produced few ground-breaking documentaries and movies such as ‘Before the Flood’, ‘Cowspiracy’ and the ‘11th Hour’ through which he has tried to spread awareness regarding pressing environmental issues.
‘Before the Flood’ shows how Leonardo Di Caprio traveled many places to meet renowned scientists, world leaders, and other experts on climate change and environment.The documentary shows us how climate change is impacting us all. For example, it shows us how the glaciers in the Arctic region are melting and leading to an increasing in the sea levels.
Cowspiracy is a documentary about how the production of meat can lead to the increase of greenhouse gases that are major contributors’ to climate change. The ‘11th hour’ is another outstanding film that tell us what 50 well-renowned scientists and experts have to say on climate change and the ways to tackle the issue.
Leonardo Di Caprio’s presence is even felt in other international organizations such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF), National Defence Resources Council (NRDC), Global Green USA, and International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW). He chairs as the board of directors in all these organizations.
His other achievements are that he was designated as the UN Messenger of Peace for Climate in 2014. He has also contributed to the negotiations that took place in the Davos Economic Forum, 2014 and the Paris Climate Summit, 2015.
He along with other scientific experts has formulated economically feasible and politically viable energy saving options for all countries to adopt in order to fight climate change. His vision is to switch to alternative forms of energy, i.e. renewable energy, preserve 50 percent of our land and ocean ecosystems, and switch to a sustainable form of agriculture by 2050. According to him, if we work on these three areas, we can lower the global average temperature levels to remain below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial standards and can prevent the Earth from growing warmer.
Unlike us, the Revenant Actor takes the threats to the environment very seriously and strives to protect us all from the dangers caused by it. But, we are all still living in the illusion that someone will step in to save the environment or it is the job of the government to protect the environment. It is time to change our attitude towards the environment and start doing basic things such as planting more trees, using public transport to work, not polluting our rivers and the surroundings. We have taken things for granted for too long and need to act immediately. Who else is better to take inspiration from to save the environment than Leonardo Di Caprio, the actor we all admire!