Leonardo DiCaprio has proven time and time again that he is passionate about conservation of the Earth — whether it be animals or the environment. He is putting his money where his mouth is yet again with a donation for the ocean.
Some of DiCaprio's most famous roles are based on the ocean, and he has become passionate about the Earth's seas. According to ABC, he has explored the waters around Mozambique, Thailand, and others, and has swum with 15 species of sharks.
"As a kid, I always had a fascination with the ocean and its wildlife. In fact, the first philanthropic dollar I ever contributed was to save the wild manatee in Florida," he said. "Since my very first dive in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia 20 years ago to the dive I got to do in the very same location just two years ago, I've witnessed environmental devastation firsthand."
The Wolf of Wall Street star spoke at the State Department's Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to talk about his passion for the world's oceans, even explaining he had wanted to be a marine biologist as a child.
"I'm standing here today as a concerned citizen of this planet who believes that this is the most important issue of our time," DiCaprio said.
The actor spoke about the dangers the oceans face, including climate change, illegal fishing and other human-made disasters.
"If we don't do something to save our oceans now, it won't be just the sharks and the dolphins that will suffer," he said. "It will be all of us, including our children and our grandchildren."
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the security and economic sides of saving the world's oceans. President Obama also spoke, promising to fight black-market fishing and to protect marine areas across the world.
DiCaprio then added his voice and said his foundation would be pledging $7 million to the cause over the next two years. The foundation has already pledged $3 million to help preserve marine wildlife.
"I've learned that with each passing day, so many of our aquatic species are in jeopardy — not because of nature's unpredictability, but because of human activity," DiCaprio said. "I stand here today to challenge all of you to step up, to utilize your positions of authority, to ensure the health of the oceans that are so vital to people's lives all around the world. My ask is straightforward: Step up."
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