January 19, 2016
Leonardo DiCaprio announced that his foundation will be give more than $15 million to fast-track cutting edge sustainability and conservation projects around the world, during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Dicaprio, giving an acceptance speech for the Crystal Award, shared his astonishment at seeing ancient glaciers rapidly disappearing while traveling making a new documentary on how the climate crisis is changing the natural balance of our planet. “We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil and gas industries to determine the future of humanity. Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied—and even covered-up—the evidence of our changing climate. Enough is enough. You know better. The world knows better. History will place the blame for this devastation squarely at their feet.”
DiCaprio announced that his grants will support projects that have expanded protected areas on land and at sea, protecting iconic endangered species and empowered indigenous communities to fight back against corporate encroachment on their lands for the past decade. The donations are divided up among a number of organizations: $6 million to Oceana and Skytruth for Global Fishing Watch; $1 million to the Nature Conservancy for its Seychelles debt-for-nature swap project; $3.2 million to Rainforest Action Network and Haka to protect the Sumatran rainforest, $3.4 million to Clearwater and the Ceibo Alliancein South America; and $1.5 million to the Solutions Project.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because DiCaprio also gave away $15 million last July. Since the creation of his foundation in 1998, DiCaprio has donated more than $30 million dollars to more than 65 organizations.
DiCaprio has been making the most of his time on stages lately to speak out about those most vulnerable to climate change. At his speech at the Golden Globes last week he ended his speech with more warnings: “I want to share this award with all the first nations people represented in this film, and all of the indigenous communities around the world. It is time that we recognize your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.”
DiCaprio stated that we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and that the recent Paris Agreement at the climate talks this year, “…was an important first step, but we are a long way off from claiming victory in this fight for our future – for the survival of our planet. The Paris Agreement was a call to action, it is now up to all of us to build on this progress with ingenuity and a commitment to change. Together we are fighting to preserve our fragile climate from irreversible damage, and devastation of unthinkable proportions.”
The Crystals Award celebrates the achievements of leading artists who have shown exemplary commitment to improving the state of the world. Will.i.am, Olafur Eliasson, and Yao Chen were also honored at today’s ceremony.
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