Leonardo DiCaprio finally took home the Academy Award for best actor for his role in The Revenant. The film is about a 19th-century frontiersman who is attacked by a bear and left for dead by his hunting team. He uses his survival skills to endure the brutal winter and find a way home to his family, and to the man who left him for dead. DiCaprio used his moment on stage at the Oscars to thank others and urge everyone to take action fighting climate change.
His speech related the snowy setting for The Revenant to recent climate change and the current political struggle surrounding the issue. "Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow," he said. “Climate change is real; it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating."
DiCaprio's past environmental work
DiCaprio has been dedicated to protecting the planet throughout his career. He is committed to using his voice to create awareness and encourage action when it comes to climate change:
- He created the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998, dedicated to the long-term health and well-being of all Earth's inhabitants. The organization focuses on protecting biodiversity, ocean conservation, wildlife conservation and climate change. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has awarded $30 million in grants and has supported 65 other sustainable organizations.
- DiCaprio won the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. The Crystal Award is given to artists and cultural leaders who are helping to address the world's humanitarian and environmental challenges. In his speech he said, "In Greenland and in the Arctic I was astonished to see that ancient glaciers are rapidly disappearing well ahead of scientific models. In India I met farmers who have seen their crops, their very livelihood, literally washed away by historic flooding. There is no doubt to the world’s scientific community that this is a direct result of human activity and the effects of climate change will become astronomically worse in the future."
- In December 2015 he attended a United Nations summit in Paris to encourage local leaders to take action in combating climate change. Mayors and city leaders can often move much faster than national leaders. He urged the leaders to take action with local environmental legislation. "We are now in a race to better ourselves, to better our planet. Please do not let fear and doubt slow all of you down. Be bold, be courageous, do everything in your power to change our current course. After all, the entire world is watching you," he said.
- He was the executive producer of a 2014 Netflix documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, which explores the impact of animal agriculture on the planet.
- DiCaprio practices sustainability in his daily life. He owns an electric Tesla Roadster, a battery electric vehicle. Tesla is the only car company continuously producing electric cars that can handle highway driving. He also has solar panels installed on his house.
Watch his full Oscars speech here.