Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeff Bezos want to raise more than 180 million euros to protect the Amazon jungle (but yes, from their yachts)

They are famous, rich and talented. They spend their summers in the sun aboard their own superyachts, or one borrowed from their billionaire friends. Their carbon footprint is catastrophic, but they are fervent defenders of the environment. Their names are Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeff Bezos and they are not afraid of contradiction: in fact, they are preparing to raise 200 million dollars to preserve the Amazon jungle. Both collaborate through their respective foundations with the Brazilian government in the challenge Protecting Our Planet (“Protect Our Planet”), a set of private funds for the preservation of biodiversity. The objective is to raise 200 million dollars to protect indigenous territories and achieve the goal of “zero deforestation”, thus contributing to Brazil continuing to move towards an economic model that is more respectful of its ecosystem. The Ministries of the Environment and of Indigenous Peoples and Racial Equality of Brazil are committed to this approach.

“We are inspired by Brazil’s ambitious goals in its efforts to protect the Amazon, one of the most important places for wildlife on the planet, and we are delighted to be able to support their efforts through the challenge Protecting Our Planet“Leonardo DiCaprio said last Friday through a release. From Jeff Bezos, Christian Samperdirector of his Earth Fund, was “delighted to support […] new models of economic development based on the conservation and sustainable use of forests”.

Leonardo DiCaprio, committed but not exemplary

Both are known for their commitment to the environment. Leonardo DiCaprio has done his bit on numerous occasions through Re:wild, which he co-founded two years ago.. His credo is the rewilding or rewilding: “We have a singular and powerful objective: nature as the most effective solution to the interconnected crises of climate, biodiversity and human well-being”, according to the Re:wild website. In 2021, the actor joined djimon hounsou, Forest Whitaker and prince harry to demand the suspension of drilling in the Okavango Delta, a river between Angola, Namibia and Botswana on which almost a million people and numerous animal species depend. Re:wild boasts of having protected “more than 72 million hectares that benefit more than 16,000 species” Worldwide.

However, on a day-to-day basis, the actor is far from being a model of sustainable awareness. Private jets, yachts, express round trips… Leonardo DiCaprio has been criticized time and time again for his lack of rigor in this area.. Can you be criticized then for leading the lifestyle of any current star while insisting on transmitting an environmental message? The question at hand summarizes the entire current debate on commitment: Do you have to be exemplary to be credible when defending a cause? Is it possible, and if so, to what extent? Does being committed mean being blameless? One, two, three, answer again. The truth is that the actor is very generous when it comes to supporting this good cause and makes intelligent use of his notoriety. Protect endangered species, fight against poaching, preserve land and marine reserves… after all, pay attention to all these fronts, despite doing it from the yacht.

Jeff Bezos or the commitment to variable geometry

And what about his colleague Jeff Bezos? The latest figures that measure the carbon footprint of the empire that gave it its name, Amazondating from 2021: No less than 71.54 million tons of CO2 have been emitted, which represents an increase of 18% since 2019 and the equivalent of what 180 power plants contaminate, according to reports The Verge. In recent years, he has become known for his non-ecological extravaganzas: 10-minute private space travel (generating 75 tons of CO2 per passenger), go-go yachts anda recent tour of Europe aboard the Korua particularly bulky superyacht, whose estimated value exceeds 450 million euros. It took five years to build and is 127 meters long from stem to stern (plus a figurehead with the image of his fiancée, Lauren Sánchez). Despite his excesses, he is also emptying his wallet for the cause: in 2020, Bezos founded the Earth Fund with $10 billion of his own pocket. It should be noted that his environmental awareness has been long in coming, and in fact is more than 20 years late compared to the actor’s, if we stick to the date of creation of the foundation that bears his name, in 1998.

In December 2021, the Bezos foundation donated $433 million to various organizations fighting climate change. The billionaire makes clear the connection between his philanthropic activities and his new commitment to the environment: “The problems we face require all of us to get down to business,” reads the organization’s website. “Philanthropy has a crucial role to play in providing flexible and effective funding and the ability to take risks, as well as bring independent insights to the design of solutions […]”. From the organization’s website it was announced a few days ago that the foundation will donate more than 45 million euros to contribute to the protection of the Brazilian Amazon. Jeff Bezos seems to have found a new ally in Leonardo DiCaprio, both in terms of interests and hobbies as well as the size of his portfolio.

Original article published by Vanity Fair France. Access the original here.

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeff Bezos want to raise more than 180 million euros to protect the Amazon jungle (but yes, from their yachts)