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Leonardo DiCaprio donating $15.6 million in latest charity pledge

Published 13/07/2016

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio

The actor and activist is helping to protect indigenous communities with his latest round of grants.

Leonardo DiCaprio is stepping up his conservation efforts by pledging another $15.6 million (£11.85 million) to help organisations committed to saving the environment.

The generous sum, donated via his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, is the charity's largest to date, benefiting groups like Oceans 5, Elephant Crisis Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The funding includes a $2.1 million (£1.6 million) grant to activists working to protect indigenous rights - a cause he highlighted as he was feted at the Golden Globe Awards in January (16).

DiCaprio was celebrated for his portrayal of real-life 19th century frontiersman Hugh Glass in The Revenant, a role which opened his eyes to the problems faced by indigenous communities, including the first nations, the group of various Aboriginal peoples who live in Canada, where the survival drama was filmed.

"I wanna share this award with all the first nations people represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world," DiCaprio said. "It is time that we recognise history, and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people out there to exploit them. It's time we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations."

The actor also turned the spotlight on climate change during his Oscars acceptance speech in February (16).

The latest funding announcement, made public on Wednesday (13Jul16), is the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation's second round of grants this year (16), after officials handed over $15 million (£11.4 million) in January (16) to help end the world's need for coal, oil and gas.

Bosses at the organisation have donated $59 million (£44.8 million) to conservation causes since the Foundation's launch in 1998.

Leonardo, a United Nations Messenger of Peace, recently addressed his fears for the planet at a United Nations gathering in New York on Earth Day (22Apr16).

During his appearance, the actor saluted the representatives from 175 countries, who attended the meeting to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change into international law.

However, Leo admitted his recent research into the issue left him "absolutely terrified" about what will happen to the globe if greenhouse gas emissions are not addressed.

"Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong," he stressed. "After 21 years of debates and conferences, it is time to declare: no more talk, no more excuses, no more 10-year studies, no more allowing the fossil fuel companies to manipulate and dictate the science and policies that affect our future."

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