Leonardo DiCaprio is a famous actor and environmentalist who often uses his status as a public figure to raise awareness on the major environmental threats and challenges we face in the modern world.
During the 88th annual Academy Awards, DiCaprio won his first Oscar and used this opportunity to address the issue of climate in his winning speech. He mentioned that while filming “The Revenant” he saw the direct results of the changing planet and continued by saying “Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
Dicaprio emphasised, “We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would 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. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”
In fact, 2015 broke all previous records with a significant rise in global average surface temperature even surpassing the record-level temperatures seen in 2014. These record temperatures over both land and the ocean surface in 2015 were accompanied by many extreme weather events such as heatwaves, flooding and severe drought (WMO). These alarming figures and the Paris Agreement accepted during the UNFCCC COP21 in December 2015, should mobilise decision makers and society at large on the fact that urgent action on climate is needed. Wetlands have a crucial role to play in this as nature’s own infrastructure, designed to make our planet healthier and more resilient.