Earlier today, a UN assembly of representatives from over 170 nations gathered in New York to endorse the Paris Agreement, a treaty aimed at halting climate change by encouraging member nations to limit their reliance on fossil fuels, and expand their use of renewable energy resources. And on hand to deliver what was surely one of the most rousing speeches of the event was Leonardo DiCaprio, who clearly labeled climate change as “the defining crisis of our time.”
In the roughly six-minute speech, posted in full above, DiCaprio delivers a more detailed, yet equally evocative clarion call to the one gave during his recent Oscar-acceptance speech for Best Actor in The Revenant.
DiCaprio, who has been deeply involved in environmental activism for decades through various means, including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, likened climate change to slavery, in that both monumental problems require bold political action in order to be solved. He even quoted Abraham Lincoln, saying that the 16th U.S. President’s thoughts regarding slavery “ring as true today when applied to… climate change.”
As a UN Messenger of Peace, DiCaprio said that he’s seen myriad environmental atrocities in countries across the globe, including choking industrial pollution in Beijing, decimated forests in Canada, droughts in California, floods in Miami, and the disappearance of ancient glaciers at the poles. Referring to the environmental devastation, he said that what he’s seen has “terrified” him.
DiCaprio made it clear that people are responsible for global warming and all of the environmental catastrophes related to rises in global temperatures, stating that “there is no doubt in the world scientific community that this is a direct result of human activity, and the effects of climate change will become astronomically worse in the future.”
Big oil specifically earned the actor’s ire, when he said that there can be “no more allowing the fossil fuel companies to manipulate and dictate the science and policies that affect our future.” He also noted that there should be carbon taxes levied on pollution emitters (around 3:55).
“An upheaval, a massive change, is required right now,” DiCaprio said to the audience. “One that leads to a new collective consciousness. A new collective evolution of the human race, inspired and enabled by a sense of urgency by you [the gathered heads of state].” He then looked out on the political leaders and asked, “which side of history will you be on?”
Which side of history do you think the UN will be on? Let us know your thoughts on DiCaprio’s speech, and the UN’s effort to curb climate change in the comments section below!
Images: Associated Press