Restoring mangroves in Mexico, protecting lions across Africa, establishing marine reserves in all five oceans — those are just three of the more than 100 projects that the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is supporting with $20 million in grants.
The suite of grants, announced during a climate change conference at Yale University on Tuesday, are the foundation’s largest ever, reflecting DiCaprio’s escalating commitment to combatting climate change.
In recent years, the Oscar-winning movie star has joined the UN as a Messenger of Peace, spoken with US Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and produced a documentary on climate change, among many other actions.
But unlike these long-view diplomacy actions, the grants will have an immediate, on-the-ground impact by enabling groups to directly mitigate and adapt to climate change’s effects.
Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals, which call for strong action against climate change. You can take action on these issues here.
“There exist today many proven technologies in renewable energy, clean transportation, and sustainable agriculture, that we can use to begin to build a brighter future for all of us,” DiCaprio said during the event that was hosted by John Kerry.
“These facts have been presented to the world time and time again for decades. Quite simply, we are knowingly doing this to ourselves, to our planet and to our future, and the cost of our inaction is becoming clearer,” he added.
“Yet with all of this evidence – the independent scientific warnings, and the mounting economic price tag – there is still an astounding level of willful ignorance and inaction from the people who should be doing the most to protect us, and every other living thing on this planet,” he said.
The 100 grants were divided among six areas: climate change, wildlife and landscape conservation, marine life and ocean conservation, innovative solutions, indigenous rights, and the California program.
The Solutions Project, for instance, helps communities in the US attain 100% renewable energy. The Elephant Crisis Fund combats poaching and creates sanctuaries for elephants. The Global Partnership for Sharks and Rays, meanwhile, strives to reverse the declines of these species.
Other grantees include a supply chain tracking organization, a 3D mapping group, and think tanks.
You can read about all of the grants here. Since 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has issued more than $80 million in grants to 132 organizations in 50 countries.
During the latest announcement, DiCaprio urged the audience to put pressure on political leaders to take climate action.
“What all politicians in every nation on earth need to know is this: we have the technology to meet 100% of our energy needs from clean, renewable, cost-effective sources that are available right now,” he said.
“What is missing in some countries is government policies that set bold goals and more leadership from the private sector, to reach out and grab hold of this tremendous opportunity, to be the drivers of innovation – to invest in these clean jobs and understand the economic potential for the future.”