The Other Side of Leo
Leonardo DiCaprio: heartthrob, international movie phenomenon, internet meme, and a man worth over 200 million dollars. A successful life by anyone's standards, no? Everyone loves him (except the Academy), and he continues to produce amazing cinematic performances. However, this pictorial treasure is more than meets the eye; there's a side of Leo that is often overshadowed by his celebrity.
He's an avid environmental activist. Joining the likes of Bill Gates, Leo has made waves using his status and fortune to effect positive change in global crises. We applaud him for the efforts he's been able to make and we think he should be further recognized for it.
6 Facts You Didn't Know About Leo
1. He founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 (when he was 24)
Yes, it seems a bit egotistical, but his name holds power - and with great power, comes great responsibility. This Foundation has had a real impact on its four focal areas: protecting biodiversity, oceans conservation, wildlands conservation, and climate change. The LDF claims that only 3% of philanthropic funds are donated to environmental causes, and it seeks to "radically scale [it] up". In fact, the LDF has awarded $30 million in grants to global conservation efforts.
2. He won the 2014 Clinton Global Citizen Award for his work in philanthropy
3. He was designated the United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate Change
4. He serves on the board of directors for the World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nat Geo's Pristine Seas, Oceans 5, and International Fund for Animal Welfare
5. He played a critical role in three noteworthy environmental documentaries: The 11th Hour, Virunga, and Cowspiracy
Leo not only wrote The 11th Hour, he also produced and narrated it. He was executive producer of Virunga and Cowspiracy, and was instrumental in getting these films featured on Netflix.
He's also producing a new film 'Sandcastle Empire' set in the year 2049 - based on a book that hasn't even come out yet - about our world on the breaking point of climate change.
6. He owns his own island - and he's using it to restore the local ecosystem
Called Blackadore Caye, the island off the coast of Belize suffers from overfishing, deforestation, and erosion. DiCaprio plans to build a resort on the island in an effort to provide an opulent, yet eco-friendly and 'eco-restorative' vacation destination for the wealthy.
We can only hope and speculate that the money generated (homes sell for $5-15 million) will continue to contribute to his conservation enterprises.
We may know Leo as the swoonable, eternal bachelor - but Bruce Wayne was just a cloak to shield Gotham's great defender. Our world's batman, Leo may not be the hero we deserve, but he's the hero Earth needs. After all, Earth is life, and as Jack Dawson once said:
"I figure life's a gift, and I don't intend on wasting it."