The money will go to several environmental groups, including one that has worked closely with the victims of the Chevron disaster. Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged US$15 million in grants for environmental projects, US$3.4 million of which has been promised specifically to causes in Ecuador.
The U.S. actor said that the money for Ecuador will be shared between Clearwater, which has worked closely with the victims of the Chevron oil disaster, and the Ceibo Alliance, which brings together members of the Cofan, Secoya, Huaorani and Siona nationalities to protect the land, water and culture of the areas they live in.
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According to the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation website, the funding will “empower indigenous people in the Amazon” and support a “strategic collaboration between four indigenous tribes in the region, standing together against oil and timber interests.”
A further US$3.2 million was awarded to the Rainforest Action Network and Haka to protect the Leuser Ecosystem, one of Sumatra’s last intact rainforests, and in particular to stop the “invasive and destructive practices” of the palm oil industry.
The biggest chunk of funding — $6 million — has been pledged to Oceana and Skytruth for Global Fishing Watch, a platform that uses satellite data to monitor fishing activities.
Pope Francis gave Leonardo DiCaprio an audience at the Vatican Thursday afternoon, bringing the two luminaries together in one place.
DiCaprio, who won an award at the World Economic Forum this year for his environmental philanthropy, started by giving the Pontiff a book with works by the artist Hieronymus Bosch inside. He opened to a page with the triptych “The Garden of Early Delights,” which he said hung over his crib.
“As a child I didn’t quite understand what it all meant, but through my child’s eyes it represented a planet, the utopia we had been given, the overpopulation, excesses, and the third panel we see a blackened sky that represents so much to me of what’s going in in the environment,” DiCaprio told Francis. DiCaprio also handed the Pope a check for his charity.