Leonardo DiCaprio: 'We Are the Last Generation That Has a Chance to Stop Climate Change'
Third Annual Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Gala Sets New Fundraising Record, Raised Nearly $45 million
This year's glittering gala raised nearly $45 million for environmental causes.Getty
Nearly $45 million was raised to support the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation's mission of preserving the environment and all of Earth's inhabitants.
The event also honored victims and survivors of the Bastille Day attack in Nice, France—a portion of the evening's proceeds went to GiveforFrance.org, with DiCaprio himself and a number of guests making personal donations, according to the organizers.
In a speech kicking off the evening, the
and prominent activist urged for solutions to the world's environmental challenges.
"While we are the first generation that has the technology, the scientific knowledge and the global will to build a truly sustainable economic future for all of humanity—we are the last generation that has a chance to stop climate change before it is too late," DiCaprio said.
"We are the last generation that has a chance to stop climate change before it is too late." — Leonardo DiCaprioGetty
DiCaprio listed several environmental conservation achievements from this past year, such as the signing of COP21 agreement in April, where the United Nations Messenger of Peace delivered a speech in front of world dignitaries imploring a shift towards renewable energy.
He also highlighted successful initiatives achieved by his foundation and their partners, including the first native tiger population increase in 100 years and the first moratorium on all new palm oil plantations in Indonesia, a cause that The Revenant star has been particularly involved.
The evening was hosted by DiCaprio as well his foundation's fundraising chairman Milutin Gatsby, CEO Terry Tamminen, executive director Justin Winters and with support of banking group Julius Baer and Swiss watch maker Chopard.
Event chairs included Boris F.J. Collardi, CEO of Julius Baer, Philippe Cousteau, Jonah Hill, Kate Hudson, Tobey Maguire, Edward Norton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Caroline Scheufele, Kevin Spacey, Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Robert De Niro, Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron.
The gala, of course, included a host of A-list attendees, including Bono, Chris Rock, Mariah Carey, Bradley Cooper and supermodels Naomi Campbell, Constance Jablonski, Joan Smalls, Doutzen Kroes and Lily Donaldson. The Weeknd and Lana Del Rey gave special performances.
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco awarded with the foundation's first "New World Leadership Award," in recognition of his legacy of environmental conservation.
The soirée's signature silent and live auction featured a slew of unique experiences (my favorite: attending the U.S. Open's men's final with Leo!), luxury collectibles and memorabilia. DiCaprio's collection of fine art on the block included pieces from renowned artists Jeff Koons, Pablo Picasso, Urs Fischer, Olafur Eliasson and Adrian Villar Rojas.
GQ gave a hilarious breakdown of auction's offerings:
The items range from the practical to the insane. For example, you could bid on DiCaprio's Rolex, his diamond cufflinks he wore when he won his Oscar, various pieces of expensive fine art (like the ones in DiCaprio's storied collection), and "A Unique Pair of Luminous Jellyfish Earrings." That last one is a little less Leo, but it is just the right amount of decadent.
You can also go for the Leonardo DiCaprio experience, including a week on set with Martin Scorsese (will he let you call him Marty?), a private game of Texas Hold 'Em with Edward Norton and Jonah Hill, an evening with Mariah Carey, and lunch with Margot Robbie. All for the price of a few years at an Ivy League, but think about it. What better education is there than paying celebrities to hang out with you? That's what I thought. There are also some weirder offerings like a portrait of Leo's eyeball. If you're going to get a portrait of an eyeball, why not have it be Leo DiCaprio's eyeball? It's a good eyeball.
That said, the money raised is going towards worthy causes. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, founded in 1998, has given away more than $59 million to fund environmental projects across the globe. The foundation announced last week $15.6 million in grants, the largest portfolio of environmental grants in the foundation's history, to organizations that are working to preserve and protect the future of the planet. These grants further the foundation's approach to helping tackle some of today's most pressing environmental issues.
@LeoDiCaprio Foundation invests $2,100,000 to protect indigenous rights support Indigenous-led conservation movement https://t.co/89ymLD2v4h— Indigenous Waters (@Indigenous Waters)1468721358.0
"The destruction of our planet continues at a pace we can no longer afford to ignore," DiCaprio said. "I am proud to support these organizations who are working to solve humankind's greatest challenge."
Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.