News / Arts & Entertainment

    Leonardo DiCaprio Devotes Off-Screen Time to Saving Planet

    Leonardo DiCaprio
    Leonardo DiCaprio

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Alan Silverman

    Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the world's most popular movie stars. His films, including Titanic, The Aviator and The Departed have grossed almost $5 billion worldwide. But the actor is trying to use his celebrity status to do more than sell tickets. Alan Silverman has a look at DiCaprio's off-screen commitment to the environment.



    In his new film J. Edgar, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as J. Edgar Hoover, famous for making the FBI into a world-renowned law enforcement agency and infamous for the files he kept on Americans both in and out of power.  

    "Is that legal?"

    "Sometimes you have to bend the rules a little in order to keep your country safe."

    Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer in "J. Edgar"
    Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer in "J. Edgar"

    "It's interesting in this day and age to do a film about political espionage and wiretapping," notes DiCaprio. "I don't think those types of secrets that J. Edgar Hoover was able to obtain and keep would be possible in today's world. With the Internet and 'Wikileaks' it doesn't seem that those types of secrets can be kept for that long a period of time."

    It's no secret, though, that DiCaprio is a committed and vocal environmental activist. More than a decade ago he inspired a Hollywood trend by becoming the first among his peers to start driving a fuel-efficient hybrid car.

    "I think that every car should have that technology," DiCaprio says. "It really has dramatically less emissions and, not only that, the gas mileage is unbelievable. If we have the technology to make every car like that - and we should - we would reduce our dependence on oil, foreign and domestic."

    DiCaprio says he's been fascinated by nature ever since he was a child growing up in smog-choked Los Angeles.

    "I actually wanted to be a marine biologist when I was very young. That was a great passion of mine, so I suppose in the off-season when not making movies, I became more and more active as an environmentalist and tried to be more vocal about issues that I felt were important,"  he explains.

    The Leonardo diCaprio Foundation, established in 1998 to promote a sustainable future, has been active in issues ranging from eliminating plastic grocery bags to ending shark-finning, the brutal practice blamed for a steep decline in shark populations around the world.

    "Right now, the campaign that I'm a part of is to save the last remaining wild tigers throughout Asia," explains DiCaprio. "There are only 3,200 left in the wild. There are more Asian tigers in cages in Texas than there are tigers in the wild and we are at risk of losing this iconic species for all time."

    At an Asian tiger summit in Moscow last year, DiCaprio personally donated $1 million to a program for protecting habitat as well as wildlife.

    "Throughout Asia, a lot of countries are selling off jungle and forest rights for palm oil and for paper and pulp companies. So it's more of land preservation effort," he explains, "because if you can unify the public behind saving an iconic species like the tiger, like they did with the panda, that means you need to protect their habitat and everything that they hunt."

    DiCaprio has won acclaim for his encyclopedic knowledge of the environment and sustainability. He says he uses his movie star status to draw attention to what he considers a global concern.

    "It's important to everybody," DiCaprio stresses. "I think that the environmental movement is the biggest people movement in the world."

    DiCaprio also brings his environmental activism into the workplace, requiring his film projects to adopt "green" practices to prevent wasting resources.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures