Leonardo’s work to protect the environment earned him a prestigious Clinton Global Citizen Award at the kickoff of the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. The 8th annual Citizen Awards ceremony honors outstanding individuals in civil society, philanthropy, public service and the private sector who exemplify global citizenship through their vision, leadership and impact in addressing global challenges.
DiCaprio, who has focused his philanthropic efforts on protecting and preserving the planet, urged those in attendance at Sunday night’s event to work to address what he called “a real and terrifying crisis.”
“Climate change is compromising the very livability of our planet,” said the actor and philanthropist. After explaining that “less than 3% of all philanthropic giving goes toward protecting and preserving our environment,” a statistic he called “ridiculous,” with even less going toward protecting the world’s oceans, DiCaprio urged the audience of global leaders and philanthropists”to put environmental issues at the forefront of the human agenda.”
Together we can find ways to scale up funding and create intelligent partnerships. By protecting our oceans and our wild lands we allow species to recover, local communities to thrive and ultimately maintain a stable climate for all life on Earth. — Leonardo DiCaprio
The actor, who earlier in the day participated in the People’s Climate Change march and is set to open the U.N. Climate Summit, added, “the world is now at a turning point, and climate change is the defining issue of our time.… The task before us to protect this planet will require the largest movement in human history. It will have to cross all cultural, religious and political boundaries. But the good news is the solutions are ready, and with leaders like the ones in this room who do not shrink in the face of crisis. They can rise, they can inspire and they can contribute. And that truly is the best hope of planet Earth.”
DiCaprio was presented his award by World Wildlife Fund CEO Carter Roberts, who said, “Now more than ever nature needs a voice. Leonardo DiCaprio is that voice.”
Roberts praised the actor for using his platform and resources to make a difference and for working to understand the science and situation on the ground, calling the actor an eloquent, inspiring leader.