Leonardo DiCaprio is best known for his career as an actor; he has starred in various films such as Revolutionary Road, The Great Gatsby and, possibly the most well-known movie of them all, Titanic. However, there is another side to DiCaprio that is not as widely known. For years now, Leo has dedicated time and money to various projects, but mostly to efforts involving endangered animals and threatened ecosystems. Especially ecosystems that are being destroyed by big business.
For years now, Chevron has contaminated the rivers, soil and groundwater in Ecuador, causing the suffering of not only the citizens, but of the rainforest ecosystem as well. Leo donated 15 million dollars in grants for various environmental plans. 3.4 million of that will be given to Ecuador, Clearwater and Ceibo Alliance. Clearwater has assisted those affected by the Chevron disaster and Ceibo Alliance brings together various indigenous nationalities and aids in protecting the water, land and culture in which they live. 3.2 million is being given to the Rainforest Action Network and Haka to protect one of Sumatra’s last rainforests that is still in good condition, the Leuser Ecosystem; this rainforest is mainly being protected by the destructive actions of the palm oil industry. The remaining portion of the money is going to Oceana and Skytruth for Global Fishing Watch, an organization that uses satellite technologies to observe fishing activities.
As shared on the website for the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation, the funding should, “empower indigenous people in the Amazon and support a strategic collaboration between four Indigenous tribes in the region, standing together against oil and timber interests.” This is just one example of the work Leo has done, but it has not gone unnoticed. He recently won a crystal award for his environmental work from the World Economic Forum in Davos. In his acceptance speech he stated that the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation will continue to provide financial support to great causes around the world. He continued to ask those leaders in power to do more to prevent climate change and scolded those who feel that it is not a real issue. He asserted that we must keep fossil fuels in the ground. "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,” he stated to a large audience of prominent figures and world leaders.
Leo has long been passionate about taking action to prevent climate change, and going after corporations who are considered to be a huge part of this crisis, "Enough is enough. You know better. The world knows better. History will place the blame for this devastation squarely at their feet,” he shared. It is a great change to see celebrities use their fame and fortune for the betterment of all peoples. Perhaps Leo will become the model and influence all celebrities to do more good in the world.