Well-known for his films Titanic, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Inception and Django Unchained, Leonardo DiCaprio is not only a high caliber actor but a staunch environmental activist and philanthropist. His acting flair has earned him numerous accolades and huge popularity worldwide. But besides his stellar career in the entertainment industry, he is also actively involved in humanitarian and environmental causes, and is actually making a huge contribution.
Leonardo’s passion for the environment has led him to establish the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 in an aim to support different organizations and programs geared towards ensuring a sustainable future. This foundation produced media projects, such as the Water Planet and Global Warming focused on promoting ecological awareness. Leonardo also built connections with leaders and environmental advocates to constantly participate in environmental efforts and engage in discussions on important environmental issues. In fact, he is a member of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Global Green USA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Over the past years, he has greatly contributed on efforts to provide universal access to clean water, decrease fuel emissions and greenhouse gases, protect biodiversity and conserve the ocean. He is also active in promoting environmental awareness through participating in diverse initiatives and producing documentaries. Leonardo hosted the Earth Day celebration in year 2000. In 2007, he produced a documentary entitled “11th Hour” which he wrote and narrated. This documentary narrates the current state of the natural environment and ways to save and protect the planet from the increasing threat of global warming.
With his commitment to protecting the planet from climate change, he was recognized as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. He joined thousands of people in the largest climate march and delivered a speech at UN Climate Summit. To further impart awareness on the current status of the earth and the solutions to climate crisis, he teamed up with Tree Media to produce Green World Rising short film series which he personally narrated. The series focused on the causes of climate crisis, ways we can live in harmony with nature and the importance of utilizing renewable energy. They emphasize using the sun, wind and waters as sources of power to drift away from burning fossil fuels and producing carbon pollution. Besides creating awareness, this film series also aims to push for the use of 100% renewable energy in the United States.
Recently, he launched a new project to create an eco-friendly resort and conservation area in Blackadore Caye, an island in Belize. He bought Blackadore Caye for less than $2 million in 2004. This 104-acre island has suffered from overfishing and over harvesting of mangroves and palm trees that resulted to the destruction of the coastline. Leonardo planned to rehabilitate and turn this island into an exclusive five-star eco-luxury resort in partnership with Delos, a New York City developer known for developing high-end wellness apartments. He also teams up with a group designers, engineers and scientists.
Sustainability and environmental conservation are the basis for the design of the resort. The island will be equipped with ground-breaking green technology. It will be powered by renewable energy sources particularly solar energy. The resort will be an extensive arc-shaped structure on the water. It will have a platform that will serve as protection for fish shelters and reefs underneath. There are also plans to restore indigenous mangroves and build a nursery for growing native marine grasses. These grasses will be scattered on the island to replace invasive species and create a manatee conservation area. Almost half of the island is designated as a conservation area.
This island will also showcase luxury living. Private guest villas with private infinity pools that extends to the beaches will be built as well as luxury residences around the island that will be sold for $5 million to $15 million. This luxury on-shore homes will be developed based on green standards utilizing native materials, solar panels and natural cooling structures. It was also reported that the resort will offer health and anti-aging programs.
Leonardo's plan to create an eco-friendly destination is a bold environmental move which he expects to change the world. His island will serve as testing hub for the latest green technology and it will have a research laboratory for scientists. It will also be a model for future environmental developments. The whole project will be strictly monitored to ensure that its restoration will not have detrimental impacts on the surrounding areas. By 2018, this resort is expected to open to the public.
Apart from his own environmental ventures, Leonardo provides financial support to various organizations and initiatives. It was reported that in 2010 Leonardo donated $1 million dollars to the Wildlife Conservation Society and another $1 million dollars for earthquake relief operations. He also pledged $7 million for ocean conservation projects.
There are also several other celebrities who promote green living and ecological initiatives by providing financial support and actively participating in environmental campaigns. They use their fame and influence to increase awareness and get more people to support ecological cause. Among these celebrities are Mark Ruffalo, Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Natalie Portman, Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan, Cameron Diaz, Robert Redford, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts.
Indeed, many celebrities are doing their part for an environmental cause. But celebrity or not, everyone can significantly contribute to the efforts to save the planet. Our collective effort to promote and support a biotarian lifestyle goes a long way towards a better future for the next generations.