Green Celebrities: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio is a celebrity that uses his celebrity status sparingly but very effectively for green causes. He is personally committed to living a greener lifestyle, uses his wealth to give to green charities, and uses his professional skills to make movies that educate the public about the environment.

Many people reading this probably already would have put him on the list of green celebrities but I hope you learn a little bit more about why I put him on my list and why he qualifies.

One of the most public, recent and recognizable achievements is the documentary The 11th Hour. He serves as the narrartor and producer of the thought provoking documentary that features experts, religious leaders, politicians and other people explaining why we need to work to fix the environment and offers real solutions on how to do it (some of which Obama has mentioned in recent speeches). To read my full review of The 11th Hour click here.

He also runs the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation which was established in 1998 (before it was the in thing to do) that gives money to environmental organizations that fostered awareness of environmental issues. Some of the organizations he has given money to are: National Resource Defense Council, International Fund for Animal Welfare, TreePeople, and the California Community Foundation. According to the foundations 2007 990 form he gave money to 22 organizations including the ones listed above and Global Green USA ($75,000), Oceana, Bioneers, and Amazon Watch ($20,000 each).

He has also made films that are available to watch on his website titled: Global Warming and Water Planet. Click here to go to his website, there is no direct link to videos.

Leonardo DiCaprio also Executive Produced Greensburg for the Discovery channel. It is a 13 part documentary/show the explores Greensburg, Kansas’ efforts to rebuild their town after a devastating tornado on May 4, 2007 that destroyed 95% of the town. From the shows website:

In an extraordinary 13-part series co-produced by acclaimed actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio and award-winning producer Craig Piligian, viewers will meet the people of this amazing town, seeing the daily struggle of a community as it fights its way back from the edge of extinction and learning how the lives and livelihood of Greensburg’s citizens will be changed by this massive reconstruction effort.

Struggles abound as the city government strives to build the greenest buildings in the entire country, and citizens endeavor to remain patient as they live in FEMA town trailers, the temporary residences for many citizens, and prepare to rebuild their homes using green technologies.

Still, the spirit of the citizens of Greensburg are what make the journey most inspirational, as they are ordinary, everyday people of great character who choose to face adversity head on and create a better life for themselves and their children. The dependable-yet-futurist city planner, the “good old boy” mayor, and a bright high school senior all share a deep connection to the city, both past and future.

Greensburg’s story is both poignant and universal. The imagination and innovation demonstrated in Greensburg inspires and enlightens audiences, showing that when individuals, companies and communities respect and harness nature, the results are a dramatic improvement in our social, economic and environmental living conditions.

The rebuilding of Greensburg presents a historic opportunity. One rural town on the plains of Kansas vividly demonstrates that sustainable, eco-friendly building is an imperative path to the future.

Paparazzi photograph him often riding his bike around NYC (here is one from TMZ). I believe he also still drives a hybrid vehicle and is looking at (or purchased) and apartment in lower New York in an environmentally designed apartment building.

Choice quotes from speeches by Leonardo DiCaprio

While our Congress and the President have failed to act to stop these rollbacks, individuals are starting to act. Tens of thousands of people have chosen to drive a hybrid vehicle in the last 2 years, including myself, in order ro conserve energy, reduce their gas bills, and fight global warming. We have sent a message to car manufacturers in Detroit that these types of vehicles are not only central to our survival, but that we can create jobs from clean, green technologies.  (At Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio 2004-10-19) 

We must break this cycle now – and we must make it a clean break. And the good news is we’ve never had better solutions. I drove here today in my hybrid vehicle that gets 50 miles to the gallon and has less than half of the pollution of a normal car. (On Global Warming at NRDC Press Conference February 7, 2003)

Is he perfect no… I am sure he flys alot, there are pictures of him on yachts and he currently selling a huge house that probably is not the most environmentally friendly but he certainly professionally and personally has made a commitment to helping the environment.

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