Leonardo DiCaprio warns of ‘urgent threat’ of climate change in Oscars speech

Leonardo DiCaprio ended his 22-year wait to finally take home an Oscar last night (28 February), and the environmental activist used his acceptance speech to urge people across the globe to act on the "urgent threat" of climate change.

Leonardo DiCaprio warns of ‘urgent threat’ of climate change in Oscars speech

Leonardo DiCaprio has been a vocal activist in raising the issue of climate change to a global audience

DiCaprio won the Best Actor award at the 88th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood for his role in the The Revenant, which depicts one man’s battle through the harsh climate of the Missouri river in the 19th century.

“Making ‘The Revenant’ was about man’s relationship to the natural world – the world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in reported history,” DiCaprio said in his winning speech. “Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow.

“Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.

“We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this.

“For our children’s children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”

Titanic effort

DiCaprio has been a vocal activist in raising the profile of climate change threats. Named as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, the actor has pledged to divest his personal wealth and charitable foundation’s fund from fossil fuels – joining a group of investors worth more than $2.6trn.

The Hollywood star is also developing a 104-acre ‘restorative island’ at Blackadore Caye in Belize, with the aim of creating ‘the world’s most sustainable island resort‘ which will push the boundaries of green design, architecture and eco-tourism.

DiCaprio has also teamed up with former UK Climate Change Minister Greg Barker to act as Inaugural Advisory Board Members for microgrid solutions provider Powerhive which aims to deliver renewable energy to the 1.4 billion people that live without access to reliable electricity.

While he may be the man in the spotlight, DiCaprio isn’t the only actor attempting to re-write the climate agenda. Mark Ruffalo, star of the Best Picture-winning film Spotlight, recently sent a passionate plea to UK Prime Minister David Cameron to stop fracking and instead embrace the global renewable energy revolution.

Both DiCaprio and Ruffalo appear on edie’s list of 12 influential celebrities calling for climate action.

Future fury

And DiCaprio wasn’t the only Oscar-winner to reflect on the world’s battle against climate change last night. Jenny Beavan, who won best costume design for the post-apocalyptic Mad Max: Fury Road, warned of the prophetic similarities between the film and the potential future of our population.

“I just want to say one quite serious thing: I’ve been thinking about this a lot but actually it could be horribly prophetic, Mad Max, if we’re not kinder to each other and if we don’t stop polluting our atmosphere – you know, it could happen,” Beavan said.

While the stars of the Oscars red carpet thrust climate change and sustainability into the limelight, work is also being done behind-the-scenes to turn Hollywood extravagance into sensible sustainability.

Matt Mace

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