Our Hot Mess: Look to the stars
Our Hot Mess tends to round up so many depressing topics that it becomes overwhelming and, well, depressing. The fate of the world, human nature, climate change. Not the perkiest of subject matters. Rarely in the environmental world do we have moments for celebration, an unfortunate reality. That’s why I like to take times like these and celebrate like nobody’s business. So what could I be talking about? This past Sunday, a vast percentage of people tuned into the 88th Academy Awards to watch an array of bedazzled celebrities clap and walk on stage to spur out thank you’s. I was not one of those people; it’s just not my thing. But I wish I had watched it this year. Why? Leo. The six-time-nominated, one-time-winning Hollywood star that is the brilliance of Leonardo DiCaprio.
It began as a typical speech, thanking everyone who had made The Revenant possible, the other actors, his directors when he first started in the business, and the like. But then he seemed to get into what he really wanted to talk about, saying, “Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world,” Whoa, where’s he going? “the world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production had to move to the southernmost tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.” Oh, that’s where he was going. Alright, DiCap, so what can we do? “We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous peoples of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children's children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
At age 24, Leonardo established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to help protect nature and wildlife around the globe as well as raise funds for ocean and forest conservation and climate change. He helped raise funds to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake, drives eco-friendly cars, and has produced many environmental educational movies such as The 11th Hour. The United Nations even named DiCaprio a U.N. Messenger of Peace with special focus on climate change.
This has been an upwards trend in the celebrity-environment scene. Mark Ruffalo is an extremely active clean energy supporter speaking up against fracking, especially through his charity organization Water Defense. Brad Pitt founded The Make It Right Foundation, a nonprofit providing affordable and sustainable homes to communities around the world. Working alongside non-profit Global Green, Pitt is pushing for the concept of green housing to be made available nationally as a housing model. Alicia Silverstone owns a home made of sustainable materials, she’s vegan, she’s written a book about sustainability, and she has lent her name to a natural cosmetics range. Natalie Portman is a vegetarian, designed a line of vegan shoes, and even participated in a documentary about gorilla welfare. Bill Clinton, Ellen, Carrie Underwood, Mike Tyson, and Liam Hemsworth are vegans. This is happening! Celebrities, although should be rarely imitated, are setting a grand example, one that should be adopted globally: the trend of caring about the environment and health of the animals - humans included - that inhabit it.
“#ClimateChange action starts w/ electing leaders who'll make brave & vital changes needed to save our planet. Visit http://www.lcv.org/act/”
DiCaprio finished off the speech with the powerful words of, “I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted; I do not take this night for granted.”
And remember, don’t be trashy!
Editor's Note: The hiatus in publication for this column stemmed from mutual busyness on the parts of the columnist and the editor. It should now return to normal publication. (BP)
--Elke Arnesen, LSNews.org Columnist