Wealth and success don’t make you happy
– Leonardo DiCaprio
As events are being organized to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the iconic Hollywood blockbuster, Titanic, the best legacy of the movie perhaps is not its global fan following that revived the romantic genre in Hollywood. It’s most important inheritance, one may say, is what the movie’s male lead, Leonardo DiCaprio did with his new found super stardom – starting a movement that has today become one of the biggest contributors to the global fight against climate change.
Leo made, the saving of the planet instead of preserving super stardom his life’s mission. The two decades that followed saw the young actor giving his heart and soul to the cause and the results are there for everyone to see today.
The Leonardo DiCaprio foundation started months after the phenomenal success of Titanic is today busy fighting global polluters, influencing policy on carbon emission, doling out grants for climate-resilient projects, protecting oceans, creating marine reserves including the world’s largest in Antarctica and breeding and relocating animals threatened by the effects of climate change especially in South America and Africa.
Ever since Titanic, fans all over the world had been desperately praying for an Academy award for their favourite actor. Last year they not only witnessed his much awaited metamorphosis in the “The Revenant” which earned him the Oscar but also the acceptance speech he dedicated to his pet cause. “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 -- our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow,” Leo told the audience. “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,” he said.
It has been Leo’s stand that one who does not believe in climate change and its empirical truths should not hold public office. Last December, when President-elect Donald Trump was giving signals that he could care less about climate change, Leo met him and presented him and his advisers with a framework detailing how to create an economic revival with investments in sustainable infrastructure.
This June the Titanic star lashed out at Trump over the latter’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on Climate Change. “Today, the future livability of our planet was threatened by President Trump’s careless decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Our future on this planet is now more at risk than ever before. For Americans and those in the world community looking for strong leadership on climate issues, this action is deeply discouraging. Now, more than ever, we must be determined to solve climate change, and to challenge those leaders who do not believe in scientific facts or empirical truths. It is time for all of us to stand up, organize, fight back, and channel our energy into grassroots political action,” Leo announced.
Last year during a visit to Beijing Leo praised the Chinese efforts to make a shift towards renewable energy. He said this positive work would help convert China’s role as the largest greenhouse emitter in the world to that of “the hero of the environmental movement.”
“As we all know, the United States and China are the two biggest contributors (to greenhouse effect) and I think that China has made radical movements forward as far as alternative energy and ways to be sustainable,” he told the media.
RMS Titanic sank in the Northern Atlantic Ocean in 1912 after crashing into an iceberg. However the waves created by the movie which were inspired by the disaster continue to date. Last month Titanic stars, including Leonardo, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane who played Winslet’s fiancé, raised more than US$30 million for climate cause of Leonardo’s foundation. “Gang’s back together. Now we’re saving icebergs,” Zane wrote in his Instagram post with a photo of the event.