‘The lungs of the Earth are in flames’: Leonardo DiCaprio launches fund to tackle Amazon fires

Leonardo DiCaprio

‘Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check. The Amazon needs more than our prayers,’ actor and climate change campaigner wrote on Instagram

Leonardo DiCaprio’s non-profit organisation Earth Alliance has announced a new emergency fund for the Amazon rainforest and pledged an initial $5 million to the cause, in response to the fires ravaging the area

The money will “focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the life-sustaining biodiversity of the Amazon”, a statement read.

DiCaprio, a noted climate crisis activist, put the group together with billionaires Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth. The news was announced on his Instagram:

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DiCaprio wrote on Instagram last week: “The lungs of the Earth are in flames. The Brazilian Amazon – home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species – has been burning for more than two weeks straight.

“There have been 74,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon since the beginning of this year – a staggering 84 per cent increase over the same period last year (National Institute for Space Research, Brazil).

“Scientists and conservationists attribute the accelerating deforestation to President Jair Bolsonaro, who issued an open invitation to loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January.⁣⁣ The largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution.

“Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check. The Amazon needs more than our prayers.”

His post then suggested ways to help protect the Amazon, including by donating to Amazon groups working to tackle the fires and defend the forest.

“Be a conscious consumer, taking care to support companies committed to responsible supply chains,” he added. “Eliminate or reduce consumption of beef; cattle ranching is one of the primary drivers of Amazon deforestation.

“When election time comes, VOTE for leaders who understand the urgency of our climate crisis and are willing to take bold action – including strong governance and forward-thinking policy.”

The Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate due to wildfires started by humans. A reported 9,500 fires have started in the forest’s basin since 15 August, with more than 74,000 recorded by scientists throughout the country – an 84 per cent increase on last year.

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