Feb 29, 2016 by

CREDIT: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Leonardo DiCaprio had a message for Oscar viewers Sunday night: climate change is real, and we need to act on it now.

DiCaprio won the award for Best Actor for his role as a frontiersman in The Revenant — his sixth time nominated for an Oscar and first time winning. DiCaprio used the second half of his speech — after the usual thanks — to call attention to climate change.

“Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history — 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, whose reference to climate change drew applause from the audience, went on to call for the support of “leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity — for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will 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.”

At least one of those world leaders — Joe Biden — attended the Oscars Sunday night, and the White House responded in support of DiCaprio’s calls.

This may have been DiCaprio’s first Oscar, but it’s far from the first time he’s called for action on climate change. The actor heads the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is focused on conservation and climate and which donated $2 million to marine conservation efforts in 2014 and $3 million to wild tiger conservation in 2013. DiCaprio marched, alongside fellow actors Mark Ruffalo and Edward Norton, in New York City’s massive People’s Climate March in 2014. He also spoke at last December’s U.N. climate talks in Paris.

“Climate change is the most fundamental and existential threat to our species. The consequences are unthinkable and worse, it has the potential to make our planet unlivable,” DiCaprio told an audience of mayors in Paris. “Our future will hold greater prosperity and justice when we are free from the grip of fossil fuels.”

DiCaprio won an award for his efforts on climate change and other environmental issues at the World Economic Form in Davos, Switzerland in January.

“We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil and gas industries to determine the future of humanity. Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied, and even covered up the evidence of our changing climate,” he said in his acceptance speech in Davos. “Enough is enough. You know better. The world knows better. History will place the blame for this devastation squarely at their feet.”

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