Most people know Leonardo DiCaprio for his roles as the charismatic and daring Jack Dawson; Gilbert Grape’s handicap, but adventurous little brother; the wolf of Wall Street and many more well-portrayed characters. DiCaprio’s interests, however, do not stop at acting. For many years now, DiCaprio has had great involvement in the fight for a more sustainable planet. According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, in 1998, DiCaprio began the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which seeks to aid other organizations and efforts in the hopes of making the planet more sustainable. DiCaprio also sits on the board of the United Nations as a “Messenger of Peace on Climate Change.” I think that DiCaprio is right. In a world focused on innovation and change, little has been done to ensure that in the future, there is a world to even innovate and change. Climate change and the role fossil fuels play in it is a crucial matter. DiCaprio rightly uses his spotlight as a way to focus on a subject that threatens the beautiful planet we live on.

Recently, DiCaprio has used his time in the spotlight as a way to spread his concerns for the environment and the damage that fossil fuels bring to it. At the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland on Jan. 19, DiCaprio was honored with the Crystal Award for his philanthropic work. DiCaprio used his time on stage to call out major corporations for their “greed” in continuing to use fossil fuels despite the evidence that it is bad for the environment. He views the usage of fossil fuels as a great danger to the environment, and this opinion is well-supported. The greed of large corporations has led to early onset climate change. Some disagree and say that this type of climate change is a natural thing. Perhaps this is true, but if so, why is this change happening so quickly? That is the part that big companies that utilize fossil fuels for their industry are trying to ignore. Money makes people act in ways that are selfish and single-minded and these corporations want to make money since that’s their job. But what happens when the climate keeps changing and our atmosphere slowly disintegrates from all the fuels being pumped into to it? The desire of corporations to make more money is a terrible excuse for destroying the Earth’s atmosphere. These corporate leaders have probably seen the science behind this controversy, and yet they push forward, which is extremely foolish.

According to the Biomass Energy Centre, a biomass power station located in England, the burning of fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas emit carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has grown higher and higher over the years due to burning of fossil fuels. This increase in carbon dioxide has dangerous effects on our planet because it changes our climate. Climate change is a serious threat to our environment — the result of humankind’s usage of fossil fuels and other heat-trapping emissions. As more heat rises into the atmosphere, the climate becomes hotter, bringing with it some major dangers. According to NASA, this climate change leads to “loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.

Now, most of, if not all of us can agree that we want planet Earth to be around for as long as possible. The effect that we have on the environment will greatly affect the generations to come. It is up to us to determine whether those impacts are positive or negative. It is also our decision of whether our great grandchildren and their great grandchildren will have a clean, beautiful and sustainable planet to live on, or if they will have to make up for the mistakes we make now. There are many new technologies that are being brought in to help with this effort. According to BBC, transport is a great contributor to climate change and resource depletion. Switching to “more efficient petrol and diesel car engines” would significantly help. The use of renewable energy is another solution that has come to popularity. The goal of renewable energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, is to use rich energy sources such solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy and water. Steps have been taken to starting utilizing renewable energy. President Obama’s Climate Action Plan sought to help make America greener by attempting to cut carbon pollution.

It is silly, if not downright idiotic that the major corporations DiCaprio has been calling out have ignored the scientific facts that show how dangerous these corporation’s environmental involvement is. Yes, we know that big corporations can be greedy. Fighting tooth and nail, with no regard for consequences, to make money in exchange for the worsening of the planet is just wrong. Corporate officials need to realize that taking money is one thing, but taking away our planet is something that we cannot afford.

Now, it is our turn as a generation to support and take part in ways to make the world a better place to live in. This can range from, but is not limited to: recycling, using a Brita water pitcher or reusable water bottles, buying a more environmentally-friendly car, asking our parents about installing solar panels and supporting any eco-friendly awareness clubs or activities that might be happening on campus.

If this hasn’t inspired you to recognize climate change and try to help make a change, at least remember: Leo will never let go of this fight to save the environment, just like Jack never let go of Rose. So, do it for Mother Nature. Or at least, do it for Leonardo DiCaprio.

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