Leonardo DiCaprio pledges S$6.9 million to save burning Amazon rainforest

The funds will be channeled towards environmental groups that help to protect indigenous lands.

Ashley Tan| August 27, 05:55 PM

Famed thespian Leonardo DiCaprio has acting chops and a heart for the environment as well.

On Aug. 27, 2019, he revealed in an Instagram post that he would be donating US$5 million (S$6.9 million) to help save Brazil's Amazon rainforest from blazing fires.

Amazon on fire

The crisis happening in South America now is that the Amazon rainforest, the world's largest tropical rainforest and home to thousands of species, has been burning for the past three weeks.

There have over 72,000 blazes recorded since the start of January 2019.

While this number isn't record-breaking, it is 83 per cent higher than that in the same period last year.

The fires were started by farmers, agribusinesses and cattle ranchers trying to clear and deforest land, all with the apparent support of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro.

Protect Amazon's "life-sustaining biodiversity"

DiCaprio has pledged to donate the money through his environmental organisation Earth Alliance in a bid to "protect the life-sustaining biodiversity of the Amazon".

View this post on Instagram

#Regram #RG @earthalliance #EarthAlliance, launched in July by @LeonardoDiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Brian Sheth, 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. Join Us. 100 percent of your donation will go to partners who are working on the ground to protect the Amazon. Earth Alliance is committed to helping protect the natural world. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the Amazon, which highlights the delicate balance of climate, biodiversity, and the wellbeing of indigenous peoples. To learn more or to donate, please visit ealliance.org/amazonfund (see link in bio) Photos: @chamiltonjames, @danielbeltraphoto 2017

A post shared by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on

The actor co-founded the organisation with two other billionaire philanthropists, Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth.

The organisation aims to protect wildlife, push for climate justice and secure indigenous rights.

DiCaprio has made himself known as an advocate for environmental issues, donating to various causes, such as protecting coral reefs and supporting United Nations climate negotiations.

In 2016, he used his Oscars acceptance speech to talk about climate change.

Money will go to organisations on the frontlines

The money, channelled through the newly-formed emergency Amazon Forest Fund under Earth Alliance, will go to "critical resources for indigenous communities", as well as other local partners working "on the ground".

DiCaprio urged members of the public to donate through the fund as well, assuring donors that "100 per cent of [their] donations" would be utilised by those helping to protect the rainforest.

The organisations that help protect indigenous lands would receive the monetary donations.

They include Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida (Kayapo), Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), Instituto Kabu (Kayapo), Instituto Raoni (Kayapo) and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

Indigenous land cover 110ha of the Amazon rainforest.

The tribes who depend on the forests for their livelihoods are also often considered critical in sustainably managing their environments.

Top photo from @gowrivaranashi/ IG and @SeeTheatre/ Twitter