Leonardo DiCaprio has announced the launch of a major fund to help protect the Amazon rainforest. And by major, we’re talking a $200 million commitment for the next four years.
The Hollywood star and co-founder of Re:wild, an organisation working to protect and restore the environment, has teamed up with businessman Jeff Bezos’ Earth Fund as well as a number of other climate organisations to support the Protecting Our Planet (POP) Challenge.
What is that exactly? POP is the largest-ever private funding commitment to biodiversity conservation and was made by 11 organisations in 2021. It’s an initiative to invest in the Brazilian government’s efforts to preserve their country’s protected areas and Indigenous territories with the ultimate aim to protect 30% of nature, both land and sea, by the year 2030.
“We are inspired by Brazil’s ambitious goals for protecting the Amazon, one of the most important places for wildlife on the planet, and are thrilled to be able to support these efforts through the Protecting Our Planet Challenge,” Leo shares in a press release obtained by CelebrityKind.
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While the exact donation amount from the actor’s Re:wild hasn’t been made public, according to the organisation, $14.3 million was already pledged in April. It is currently being used to combat forest fires and support Brazil’s conservation goals: zero deforestation in the Amazon, permanently safeguarding nearly 145 million acres of undesignated public lands in the area and stopping illegal activities such as logging and mining on Indigenous lands.
Amazonia, of which Brazil is a part, is critical to Indigenous peoples from up to 400 different groups and is home to million of species, many of which have not even been discovered yet.
As per Re:wild, 17% of the Amazonian forest is already gone and scientists believe that if this figure reaches 20-25%, it’s likely the rainforest won’t be able to sustain itself, “with disastrous consequences for the Indigenous peoples and wildlife living there, livelihoods, and for the planet’s overall health.”
In a post announcing the fund on Instagram, Leo urges other donors to support it too:
“We call on additional philanthropists to join the new commitment to protect and restore Amazonia in Brazil and beyond.”
(Feature Image Credit: DFree/Shutterstock.com)