Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $15 Million to Fast-Track Conservation Projects: ‘Generosity Is the Key’

Leonardo DiCaprio speaks as he was awarded the Crystal Awards ceremony at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday Jan. 19, 2016.
Leonardo DiCaprio speaks as he was awarded the Crystal Awards ceremony at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday Jan. 19, 2016. AP Photo/Michel Euler

His first love is Mother Nature. Leonardo DiCaprio announced on Tuesday, January 19, that he's donating $15 million from his namesake foundation in an effort to fast-track ways to preserve the planet.

The impassioned environmentalist, 41, was honored at the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award Ceremony in Davos, Switzerland, for his work in tackling the ongoing climate crisis. While accepting his award, he opened up about preserving the environment, and how the planet’s last remaining natural ecosystems are currently threatened by the "corporate greed of the coal, oil and gas industries."

"Fifteen years ago today, I developed my foundation to focus on these critical issues," the Revenant actor shared with the economic leaders of the world. "Currently, less than three percent of all philanthropic giving goes to defending our planet … Today at LDF [Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation], we are achieving tangible, exciting results with over 70 partners across 40 countries, and in all five oceans."

The four-time best lead actor Oscar nominee, who established the LDF in 1998, then announced that he was making a hefty donation to increase that minuscule percentage, and to bring more support and awareness to his efforts. "Generosity is the key to our future," he noted. "With that, I am pleased to announce today over $15 million in new commitments from LDF to fast-track cutting-edge sustainability and conservation projects around the world." Some of the funds will go toward protecting the last remaining rain forests, including the Amazon in Ecuador, where the palm oil industry is threatening the vast span of land.

He's also partnered with the Solution Project in the U.S. to promote clean energy, which starts with local communities. The outgoing star has teamed up with additional corporate partners including Google, Oceana and SkyTruth to support the Global Fishing Watch.

According to DiCaprio, money — though necessary — is just one part of an overall solution in alleviating the global environmental crisis. "Imagine what we can do with more partnerships and with the alliance of many of you in this room," he pleaded. "So much can be done if we work together. With your help, we can quickly identify and fund the most innovative and effective projects that have the greatest potential to avert the crisis we face. As I look across the room, I am optimistic that our ability to convene the most significant and influential minds on the planet can result in the global transition necessary to protect both our society and our natural world."

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