LOS ANGELES, California – Equally famous for his outstanding performances and his inability to win an Oscar, Hollywood mainstay and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has just received a prestigious title to take pride in. On Tuesday, September 23, the United Nations designated DiCaprio as its newest U.N. Messenger of Peace, an honor that the actor will use to raise awareness about climate change.
“Leonardo DiCaprio is not just one of the world’s leading actors. He has also a long-standing commitment to environmental causes, including through his foundation,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Mr. DiCaprio is a credible voice in the environmental movement, and has a considerable platform to amplify its message. I am pleased he has chosen to add his voice to U.N. efforts to raise awareness of the urgency and benefits of acting now to combat climate change.”
The star of iconic films, from Inception to Blood Diamond, established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 with the mission of protecting the last wild places on Earth and improving the relationship between nature and humanity. The foundation has donated to causes that protect wild elephants, marine animals and tigers in Nepal. Beyond just his own foundation, DiCaprio is well-known for advocating for the world’s top humanitarian and environmental issues, using his celebrity to draw attention and funding toward ocean and forest conservation, biodiversity protection and climate change action.
Several months ago, the actor participated in a summit on the health of the world’s oceans, which are quickly being acidified by carbon dioxide emissions and harming marine life. At the summit, which was hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, DiCaprio made a pledge of $7 million toward ocean conservation efforts. The Titanic star has a history of advocating for marine conservation – he has previously given a $3 million grant toward ocean conservation through his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
“It’s an honor to accept the role of U.N. Messenger of Peace on Climate Change and to support the Secretary General in his efforts to address one of the most important issues we face as a global community. I feel a moral obligation to speak out at this key moment in human history – it is a moment for action,” said DiCaprio. “How we respond to the climate crisis in the coming years will likely determine the fate of humanity and our planet.”
The committed environmentalist was invited to speak at the U.N. Climate Summit on September 23. The summit was a forum that drew leaders from civil society, business, government and finance to promote climate change action, improved living standards around the world and sustainable economic growth.
In his new role as a U.N. Messenger of Peace, DiCaprio joins the ranks of other prominent celebrities like musician Stevie Wonder, fellow actor George Clooney, primatologist Jane Goodall and Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel.
– Annie Jung