|Leonardo DiCaprio addresses the audience after picking up an award at the Annual Crystal Awards. Photo credit: Reuters / Ruben Sprich.|
By Anders Lorenzen
Hollywood superstar, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, has been criticised for his climate change message by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said that his rhetoric did not help.
DiCaprio, was in Davos, Switzerland (last month) where he attended the World Economic Forum (WEF). Here he was awarded for his leadership in tackling the climate crisis at the Annual Crystal Awards, held inside WEF.
In his acceptance speech, DiCaprio attacked the energy industry for corporate greed, saying: “We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil, and gas industries to determine the future of humanity. Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied and even covered up the evidence of our changing climate. Enough is enough. You know better, the world knows better. History will place the blame for this devastation squarely at their feet.”
However, Canada’s recently elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who has stressed the need to tackle climate change, doesn’t think the Hollywood superstar`s words are fair. He urged DiCaprio to choose his words more carefully. Trudeau said he did not think that the remarks, which he called inflammatory, would help the people who had lost jobs in the oil industry due to the low oil price.
According to Trudeau, he had approached DiCaprio at a dinner the same evening: “I pointed out that both Alberta and Canada have new governments over the past year that is committed to action on climate change…and that there are families suffering, and out of work, who need to be supported, and inflammatory rhetoric doesn’t necessarily help those families or help Canada,” Trudeau told reporters the following morning and said that the actor had been sympathetic towards his remarks: “He actually said if we took concrete action on climate change he would be the first to come up and celebrate with us.”
DiCaprio has in recent years become one of the most vocal celebrities to speak out about climate change and other environmental problems. He has funded and produced several environmental films, and his charity, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation frequently and generously donates large sums of money to environmental causes. And upon receiving his award at the Annual Crystal Awards, he pledged a further $15 million dollars of funding.
But his rhetoric does not come without controversy, as some are calling him a hypocrite. This is because he on one hand is attacking the corporate world for not acting on climate change, but on the other hand, he has done very little to curtail his own carbon footprint. He arrived at Davos in his own private jet. He also owns several private yachts, and the water footprint alone for his Hollywood mansion is immense though he has installed solar panels.