Alexa W., journalist
Social media acts as a powerful force in spreading awareness to issues and events as they occur in the world. Over the years, celebrities have begun to utilize their growing influence to help further raise attention to such information. Leonardo DiCaprio is one star in particular who has utilized his voice to raise awareness about climate change in the world and its consequences.
Bringing his message to Instagram
Since joining the social media platform, DiCaprio has amassed a whopping 38.6 million followers. Instead of selfies and aesthetic images, Dicaprio’s feed displays a sea of campaigns bringing awareness to climate change, women’s rights, conservation, and wildlife protection. DiCaprio also has a second account for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation which has awarded over $80 million in grants to more than 200 environmentalist projects. DiCaprio also uses his page to promote the efforts of other leaders in the environmental change movement such as Greta Thunberg. Many other celebrities join him in raising awareness to such issues, such as Jane Fonda, Ted Danson, Greta Thunberg, and countless others.
DiCaprio’s instagram page not only informs people about environmental issues around the globe, but also informs people about how they can make a difference. With the amount of impressionable young people combined with users who simply want to make a difference in the world, DiCaprio’s page helps to positively influence and educate his many followers. On August 28, one of his Instagram posts revealed that in 48 hours alone, his followers “helped raise over $1 million in small donations from more than 22,000 individuals from 138 countries” to help in the Amazon forest fire crisis. The post also informed followers of how to donate by providing the link to his non-profit organization’s –Earth Alliance–gofundme.
While a large number of his followers may scroll right past his posts, there exists another number of his followers that take the time to read his posts and even act on the information he puts out into the world. The latter, no matter their size, convey how the actor’s social media presence evokes a positive change in the world which is much better than no change at all.
Taking it to the Stage
The Oscars–viewed by millions to see which of their favorite celebrities will take home the coveted award for their work in the year’s top films. The 2016 Oscars was truly a night for the history books, as millions witnessed DiCaprio receive his long overdue golden statue. However, his speech may be more memorable than the win itself. DiCaprio utilized the spotlight to urge the people to reject the “politics of greed” and band together in support of efforts aimed at taking action against climate change.
“Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating,”
This moment is a perfect example of celebrities utilizing their influence and power for good and to bring about necessary change in the world. DiCaprio effectively took advantage of the widely viewed event to help spread light onto a very real problem. While it was not the first time a celebrity used a big stage to spread awareness on an issue, it was definitely a memorable one as the same trend continued following the 2016 award show.
Bringing his message to the “big screen”
When not taking on a titular role in a major motion picture, DiCaprio has produced several environmental and animal welfare documentaries. He has worked on documentaries ranging from short length ones available on Youtube such “Water Planet” and Global Warming to a number of feature-length documentaries such as “Cowspiracy” and Sea of Shadows.” DiCaprio also produced and narrated “The 11th Hour,” a film in which scholars, scientists, and leaders discuss pressing issues facing today’s world.
His most important work to date however is his feature length documentary called “Before the Flood,” in which DCaprio spent three years asking a wide variety of people around the world about climate change. His interviews with key figures such as Barack Obama and the Pope cover the science, impacts, vested interests, politics, and possible solutions to the climate change crisis. The documentary is one of the most watched in history and received 60 million views in just three months.
If you happen to be on Instagram any time soon, I highly recommend that you take a look at DiCaprio’s instagram page or check out Earth Alliance online to become more informed on the climate crisis and how you can help.