Take a scroll through the Instagram pages of most Hollywood A-listers and you’re likely to see a similar set of pictures; magazine cover photoshoots; glitzy awards-show dinners; their latest movie trailer; promotional advertising and sponsorships. The life of showbiz may be inaccessible to most of us, but we can all gawp at the insight that social media provides into the lofty world of a Hollywood celebrity. Though there are those who choose to use their platforms to speak about topical issues, or raise awareness for injustices, they can often feel far and few between; like tiny islands floating untethered in an endless sea of glossy glamour.
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One exception is Leonardo DiCaprio. Despite being one of the most famous and well-paid actors in Hollywood history, DiCaprio doesn’t share his personal life, or even his professional projects, on his social media accounts. Instead, the 46-year-old acting titan dedicates almost every single post on his Instagram to raising awareness for the urgent issue of climate change and global warming, encouraging his followers to do all they can to protect our planet’s environment.
From infographics including shocking statistics on the devastating effects of deforestation, to updates about new legislature intended to protect the Amazon rainforest, DiCaprio’s Instagram page is a shrine to the work of tireless groups and individuals around the world who are committed to turning the table on climate change. One of the rare occasions on which we did see DiCaprio’s actual face on his page, was in a post about his now legendary meet-up with teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg; a power-friendship like no other!
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DiCaprio has long been a vocal advocate for action against global warming and is arguably the most environmentally conscious celebrity working today. In 1998, he founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a non-profit organization that has worked on projects in over 40 countries since its establishment, promoting environmental awareness and supporting renewable energy infrastructure. DiCaprio and his foundation have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the fight for global conservation and carbon reduction, showing that the actor is not afraid to put his money where his mouth is.
What’s more, unlike most celebrities, DiCaprio makes sustainable choices in his personal life, from driving exclusively electric cars to his eco-friendly property in New York which is fuelled entirely by solar panels. DiCaprio is also the founder of Los-Angeles based film production company Appian Way, which has produced a number of environmentally themed films and documentaries, including ‘The Revenant’, ‘Cowspiracy’, and ‘Ice on Fire’, which DiCaprio also narrated.
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The ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’ actor also serves on the boards of several environmental organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, The Natural Resources Defence Council, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. He spoke as the UN Messenger of Peace at the 2014 Climate Summit at the UN Headquarters in New York, and again at the UN in 2016 before the signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Who can forget DiCaprio’s self-effacing acceptance speech of his Academy Award for Best Actor in 2016, for his leading role in The Revenant? The actor took the opportunity to speak out about global warming, rather than gush about his own achievements:
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, for 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.
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DiCaprio has harnessed the power of his fame, and directed it towards an essential cause, setting an example not only for how we can all treat our planet with more care, but also how celebrities can exist meaningfully within the constant noise on social media.
Do you follow DiCaprio on social media? Let us know what you think about his online approach and environmental work and join us next week for another instalment of #SustainableSundays!