Your by boy Leo!
per magazine Mashable
Until his Academy Award acceptance speech on Sunday night, The Revenantstar Leonardo DiCaprio had for years slipped under the radar as one of the most committed climate and oceans advocates in Hollywood.
Instead, the public image that stuck was one of a talented, hard-partying star who seemed to be constantly surrounded by a coterie of models.
Now, though, many more are taking notice of his work, which he mainly conducts through the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which he established in 1998.
Since then, the foundation has supported more than 70 projects in more than 40 countries across the globe, including funding to preserve rainforests from palm oil plantations to establishing marine reserves that are off limits to fishing.
At the end of the day, it’s climate change that appears to animate DiCaprio the most, and he is not afraid to use his mega-stardom for the cause.
In his Oscar speech, for example, he declared:
“Climate change is real: It is happening right now, it is a most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
The speech came as no surprise to Jason Box, a glaciology professor at the Geologic Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
Box is one of the scientists who was already personally familiar with the world-famous actor, thanks to DiCaprio’s support for his research in 2015.
Through his foundation, DiCaprio helped fund Box’s “Dark Snow” field campaign, which the prominent ice researcher is using to find out how much the darkening of the ice sheet from pollution in northern midlatitudes is speeding up its melting.
In a demonstration of his level of interest in this subject, Leo didn’t just help fund the Dark Snow campaign.
He also visited it, arriving straight from northern Canada, where he was shooting The Revenant.
DiCaprio met up with Box on July 6, 2015, Box told Mashable.
“I had a helicopter waiting. I toured him around for five hours. We filmed content, I suppose some of which will make it into a documentary he is producing on climate change. He was amazed more people didn’t live in Greenland because it was so ‘f’ing beautiful,'” Box wrote in an email.
A darker ice sheet absorbs more incoming solar energy during the summer melt season, which in turn melts more snow and ice, contributing to global sea level rise.
In addition to global warming from greenhouse gas emissions, darkening pollution can come from soot emitted by ships passing through the increasingly sea-ice-free Arctic Ocean during the summer, as well as from power plants and factories in East Asia.
In addition, massive wildfires burning in the vast taiga forests of Siberia, Alaska and Canada may also be accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
Computer models have long shown the possibility of significant black carbon, more commonly known as soot, transport to Greenland and other parts of the Arctic.
Box’s work is critical for providing ground truth of what is landing on the ice and snow in the far north, and could result in new policies to limit soot emissions among nations in the northern hemisphere.
DiCaprio’s support of the project demonstrates the actor’s desire to not only help make tangible progress in conservation and climate policy, but also to help further scientific discoveries as well.
“I have no doubt he is truly concerned for the environment, and with good cause,” Box wrote.
DiCaprio appears to be turning into a genuine climate wonk — making him a rare mix of Al Gore crossed with Marlon Brando.
“I am consumed by this,” DiCaprio told Rolling Stone magazine. “There isn’t a couple of hours a day where I’m not thinking about it. It’s this slow burn. It’s not ‘aliens invading our planet next week and we have to get up and fight to defend our country,’ but it’s this inevitable thing, and it’s so terrifying.”
It’s rare, if not unheard of, for a Hollywood star to fund a scientific research project.
According to Box, DiCaprio’s support, which in this particular case was less than $100,000, provided four-fifths of the cost of a two-month-long field campaign on the ice sheet in 2015.
Box and his colleagues camped out on the ice and flew unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) above the ice each day, in order to take measurements of the ice sheet’s reflectivity and surface conditions.
“The UAVs provide a new perspective on the ice sheet surface, especially in cloudy conditions,” Box told Mashable in an email. Clouds typically shield the ice from observation via satellites, creating data gaps.
Box says his team currently has a scientific paper based on the research that DiCaprio’s foundation supported, and they are analyzing more data from the field campaign as well.
DiCaprio was among many past contributors to the Dark Snow field campaign, which is a crowdfunded project.
The DiCaprio Foundation funds, Box said, were “the largest amount of funding we had sourced so far for the Dark Snow Project.”
DiCaprio favors divestment; keeping fossil fuels in the ground
DiCaprio is an increasingly prominent figure in both elite and grassroots environmental circles.
For example, he spoke about climate change and ocean conservation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January. The WEF is one of the largest gatherings of titans from politics, corporate board rooms and advocacy organizations.
“We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil, and gas industries to determine the future of humanity,” DiCaprio told the assembled leaders.
He also marched with about 400,000 others during the People’s Climate March in 2014, and addressed the U.N. Climate Summit in the same year.
As one of the most famous actors in the world, he scored two one-on-one meetings in the past six months with global leaders about climate and oceans issues.
In Paris in December, DiCaprio interviewed Secretary of State John Kerry at his hotel the night before America’s chief diplomat plunged headfirst into the marathon negotiations that ultimately resulted in the first truly global climate change agreement.
The interview will be featured in the documentary DiCaprio is producing.
DiCaprio and Kerry have also teamed up on oceans conservation.
More recently, on Jan. 28, he had a private meeting with Pope Francis — also a forceful advocate of addressing global warming.
In the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement, DiCaprio has adopted the talking points of many U.S. environmental groups, which say that no new fossil fuel projects should be pursued.
“Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong,” DiCaprio said.
In September, during the run up to Paris, DiCaprio announced he was supporting the divestment movement by ridding his foundation of any investments in fossil fuel companies.
Addressing a funding gap
DiCaprio sees his foundation as a way to help fill a gap in charitable giving to environmental and conservation causes.
“Currently less than 3% of all philanthropic giving goes to defending our planet,” he said in his Davos speech. “Given this limited support, it’s no surprise that roughly only 2% of our oceans and 12% of our lands are formally protected from invasive human activity like commercial fishing, agriculture, logging, and energy extraction.”
For example, DiCaprio’s foundation directed $2 million toward Oceans 5, which is a collaboration overseen by Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors to halt overfishing and establish marine reserves in the world’s five oceans.
Since 2010, the foundation has supported more than 70 projects in more than 40 countries across the globe, the foundation reported.
The foundation has also directly supported winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, which is awarded annually for grassroots environmental activism.
Still, DiCaprio has no plans to quit acting to become a full-time environmental activist. As he told Rolling Stone: “I had a friend say, ‘Well, if you’re really this passionate about environmentalism, quit acting,'” he says. “But you soon realize that one hand shakes the other, and being an artist gives you a platform.”