While the government refuses to step up in the fight against climate change, we at least have Leonardo DiCaprio, who continues to do his part for the health of our planet. During the Yale Climate Conference on Tuesday, the Oscar winner opened up about a meeting he had back in December with then president-elect Donald Trump.
Speaking about the details of the meeting, DiCaprio explained that he presented Trump with "a comprehensive plan to tackle climate change, while also simultaneously harnessing the economic potential of green jobs," a strategy that would seemingly appeal to Trump’s populist message. “We talked about how the United States has the potential to lead the world in clean-energy manufacturing and research and development.”
But despite these efforts, DiCaprio admitted the meeting did not yield any results, leaving DiCaprio disappointed and convinced of Trump's eventual positioning in history. "We are going to look back at this point in history—and frankly, this administration—and certain people are going to be vilified for not taking action," DiCaprio said. "They really are. It's up to this generation, it's up to all of you to really get involved and make a difference."
“These facts have been presented to the world time and time again for decades," he continued. "Quite simply, we are knowingly doing this to ourselves, to our planet, and to our future, and the cost of our inaction is becoming clearer. ... Yet with all of this evidence—the independent scientific warnings, and the mounting economic price tag—there is still an astounding level of willful ignorance and inaction from the people who should be doing the most to protect us, and every other living thing on this planet.”
But DiCaprio isn't about to let Trump and his administration’s inaction affect his own resolve. The actor and activist announced this week that his foundation will donate $20 million in grants to more than 100 environmentally focused organizations. This new pledge brings the total amount of money raised by his foundation to $80 million since 1998, but this is the single largest donation to date.
“We are proud to support the work of over 100 organizations at home and abroad,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “These grantees are active on the ground, protecting our oceans, forests, and endangered species for future generations—and tackling the urgent, existential challenges of climate change.”
DiCaprio’s speech closed out the Yale Climate Conference, which was hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry and supported by the Kerry Initiative. Other speakers at the two-day event included Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, California Gov. Jerry Brown, and former Secretary of State James Baker.