Leonardo-Backed Fund Pledges $5 Million To Preserve Amazon Rainforest

In response to the massive fires that have swept across the Amazon in the following several weeks, the famous actor and philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio has declared that his environmental charity called Earth Alliance, will be donating $5 million to the preservation of the rainforest.

The “Earth Alliance” charity was just recently formed by DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Brian Sheth, to preserve nature, supporting renewable energy and protecting indigenous rights.

In his post on Instagram, DiCaprio promised that 100% of the donations will be going to five local charities, the Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida (Kayapo), the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), the Instituto Kabu (Kayapo), the Instituto Raoni (Kayapo) and the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

The post also stated that the charity has formed an emergency Amazon Forest Fund with a commitment of $5 million dollars to focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the life-sustaining biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires currently burning across the region.

Earth Alliance is committed to helping protect the natural world, and the ongoing crisis in the Amazon deeply concerned them, as the area is crucial for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation as well as the well-being and survival of the Amazon’s indigenous peoples. 

Earth Alliance also stated that the fires from the Amazon, which they refer to as the “lungs of the planet”, are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and destroying an ecosystem that absorbs millions of tons of carbon emissions annually and is one of the best defenses against the climate crisis on the planet. 

In one caption, DiCaprio wrote that this is an incredibly serious issue, as the largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution, so without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check.

The organization works with local partners and indigenous communities to protect the Amazon ecosystem.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported that over 72,000 fires have broken out so far this year, which is almost twice more than last year.

Most experts believe that the fires are caused by a massive surge in cattle operations and agribusiness in the area. They maintain that they are intentionally set to clear space for development, but the deforestation has made the rest of the forest more vulnerable to fires.

The famous actor has been involved in environmental activism for many years and has won numerous awards, such as the Martin Litton Environment Award, in 2001, from Environment Now, and the Environmental Leadership Award in 2003 from Global Green USA.

 In 1998, when he was only 24, and shortly after his success with Titanic, he established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting environmental awareness.

The foundation has been involved with projects in more than 40 countries and has produced two short web documentaries. It has also funded debt-for-nature swaps, which are financial transactions where a portion of a developing nation’s foreign debt is forgiven in exchange for local investments in environmental conservation measures.

DiCaprio currently has a seat on the board of the Global Green USA, World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In 1998, he and his mother donated $35,000 for a “Leonardo DiCaprio Computer Center” at the Los Feliz branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. In 2010, the Oscar-winning actor donated a million dollars after the earthquake in Haiti, 2013, he donated $61,000 to GLAAD, and 2017, after Hurricane Harvey he donated $1 million to the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund.

As the situation in Amazon aggravates, Madonna, singer Camila Cabello, Zoe Kravitz, Lil Nas X, and Viola Davis were among the numerous celebrities sharing posts to raise awareness.