Leonardo DiCaprio is well known for his environmental activism. He’s spoken at numerous conferences, co-produced a documentary, and promoted a plant-based diet, all to help our global environment and our battle against climate change.
So when news broke that the Amazon rainforest is experiencing unprecedented forest fires, of course Leo was one of the first major public figures to step forward and actually try and do something to help.
The Titanic actor pledged $5 million to help fight the growing environmental crisis happening in Brazil and Bolivia right now.
Earth Alliance will give the money to local groups and indigenous communities as they work to protect the Amazon.
The National Institute for Space Research in Brazil says there have been more than 72,000 fires in the Amazon rainforest this year. That’s up from 40,000 at the same point last year.
A statement on the Earth Alliance website says: “The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is rapidly releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, destroying an ecosystem that absorbs millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year and is one of the planet’s best defences against the climate crisis.”
“The lungs of the Earth are in flames. The Brazilian Amazon — home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species — has been burning for more than two weeks straight,” DiCaprio wrote in an Instagram post announcing the donation
Several on-the-ground organizations will benefit from the infusion of cash.
The organizations receiving the cash are Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida (Kayapo), Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), Instituto Kabu (Kayapo), Instituto Raoni (Kayapo) and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).
Earth Alliance was founded by Leo and two other philanthropists in July – aiming to protect wildlife, push for climate justice and secure indigenous rights.
The Amazon Forest Fund is the group’s initiative to raise money for the protection of this specific area.
In an Instagram post on Saturday, the actor said he is “deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the Amazon, which highlights the delicate balance of climate, biodiversity, and the wellbeing of indigenous peoples”.
He wants the public to get involved and support the crisis too, linking to ways people can make donations.
Meanwhile, international leaders at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, are reportedly reaching an agreement on international help towards the crisis.
French President Emmanuel Macron said G7 countries would release $22 million to help combat the fires.
The funding pledge was announced as the leaders of the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – continue to meet in Biarritz, France.
However, President Jair Bolsonaro said Mr Macron’s plan of an “alliance” to “save” the Amazon treated Brazil “as if we were a colony or no man’s land”.
Mr Macron said the funds would be made available “immediately” – primarily to pay for more fire-fighting planes – and that France would also “offer concrete support with military in the region within the next few hours”.
However, Mr Bolsonaro – who has been engaged in a public argument with Mr Macron in recent weeks – accused the French leader of launching “unreasonable and gratuitous attacks against the Amazon region”, and “hiding his intentions behind the idea of an ‘alliance’ of G7 countries”.
He wrote on Twitter that Brazil’s sovereignty should be respected – and said he had discussed with Colombia’s president the need for “a joint plan” from the countries that actually made up the Amazon region.
And the fires come as the Brazilian ministry for the environment has had funding severely reduced.
“The funding for Brazil’s environment agency has gone down by 95% this year, it essentially gutted a large part of the actions that have been put in by the agricultural ministry,” University of Oxford ecosystem science professor Yadvinder Malhi told the BBC’s Today program, as BBC News reported.
“So the real thing is to look at the political direction of governance in the Amazon that’s changing under the new Brazilian government.
Many on Twitter applauded the move of Leo, who was actually putting his money where his mouth is.
Ellen, along with many others on Twitter, were happy to see the actor put up such a large sum of money to combat the crisis.
With that much money up, it would hopefully inspire others to take action and provide much needed aid to the fight.
Share this story with all of your friends by tapping our little share buttons below!
The world has been fixated on the coronavirus as it has spread from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China to every continent, except Antarctica. More than 40,600 people have died of the disease that has infected more than 820,000 people across six continents. So far, more than 174,000 have recovered from the illness. Now, the disease is in Latin America and we are going to keep you updated on its spread.
Update March 31, 10:46 a.m. PST: Indigenous tribes in South America are blockading their villages to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Indigenous communities around the world are preparing to ride out the COVID-19 health pandemic the best way they can. Some indigenous leaders are asking for help to protect their communities from COVID-19. Many indigenous tribes are voluntarily isolated from the rest of the world leaving them particularly vulnerable to diseases. This is because their isolation has left them with no immunity or protection from most diseases.
“We call on governments to intensify surveillance and protection of indigenous territories, many of which are invaded by miners, drug traffickers, loggers, land-grabbers and tourists,” Claudette Labonte, a member of the Kamuyeneh community in French Guiana and a member of the Congress of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), told AFP.
Labonte continued to argue that government help is needed because of the illegal miners and others who are using the pandemic as a way to encroach on the protected indigenous lands. These moments could lead to the indigenous people being infected by sick loggers and miners.
Update March 24, 11:06 a.m. PST: Global economists and health experts warn that Mexico is not prepared for the outbreak.
Most of the world’s governments are grappling with how to better handle the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Mexico seems to be dragging their feet when it comes to responding to the health pandemic that has shut down one-third of the United States. In stark contrast to most major international cities, Mexico City remains open and bustling as the Mexican president calls for calm from citizens.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has led his country into a “business as usual” mentality. According to reports, President López Obrador doesn’t want to impose major lockdowns and restrictions until absolutely necessary. This kind of attitude, economist and health experts warn, would lead to an outbreak worse than what the world saw in Italy.
The country’s stock market has already started to strain under the pressure of COVID-19. Economists warn that the outlook for Mexico’s stock market is grim but the president, through action, could ease the full impact.
Update March 17 – 11:22 a.m. PST: The number of cases in Latin America continues to climb as El Salvador implemented nationwide quarantine.
“I know this will be criticized, but let’s put ourselves in Italy’s shoes. Italy wishes they could’ve done this before,” Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said in a national address. “Our health system is not at Italy’s level. It’s not at South Korea’s level.”
President Bukele’s national quarantine means that schools are closed for three weeks, gatherings of more than 500 people are banned, foreign travelers from high-risk countries are barred from entering the country, and all Salvadorans returning from trips abroad will be quarantined for 30 days.
Puerto Rico has implemented an island-wide curfew to combat the spread of the virus.
Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vázquez reprimanded Puerto Ricans for not obeying guidance to self-isolate and practice social distancing. In response, Gov. Vázquez instituted a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and shut most businesses on the island until March 30. The only people exempt are supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, medical equipment stores, gas stations, restaurants offering take out and delivery, and their suppliers. Violators face a $5,000 fine or six months in jail for breaking the executive order.
Update March 13 – 1:24 p.m.: The novel coronavirus has been reported in Venezuela.
To cases have been confirmed in Venezuela. The South American country is in a yearslong battle over their government that has left them with no medicine, little food, and a devastated economy. Doctors in Venezuela fear that the coronavirus could pose a major threat to hospitals that might be overwhelmed with patients that cannot be treated.
The virus has also entered Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro recently contradicted earlier reports that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Update: President Trump has backpedaled on his plan to close the southern border in response to the coronavirus concern.
President Trump originally announced that he was considering closing the southern border with Mexico because of concerns about the coronavirus. At the time, Mexico had 5 confirmed cases of the virus while the U.S. had more than 80. On March 3, Trump changed his messaging and said they aren’t invested in the decision due to a lack of evidence.
Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic have all reported cases of COVID-19.
Ecuador is currently grappling with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America. Seven people have tested positive after a woman in her 70s tested positive for coronavirus in February after visiting Madrid. The woman is in critical condition. In Mexico, where there are 5 confirmed cases, first detected the virus in two men who had recently traveled to northern Italy. The Dominican Republic has reported one case who is an Italian national visiting the island. Brazil diagnosed a second case, who is a 32-year-old patient in São Paulo. A 32-year-old man was diagnosed as the first coronavirus patient in Argentina after a trip to northern Italy. Chile reported a patient who had recently spent time in Singapore.
The first case of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has been reported in Brazil.
The first case in Latin America was confirmed in Brazil. The patient, a 61-year-old man who was in northern Italy for business, tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to São Paulo. The man checked himself into a hospital when he began to show signs of a fever, sore throat, and a cough.
Brazil’s Carnival celebrations have begun and the possibility of an outbreak is weighing heavily on some Brazilians.
According to The New York Times, Brazil Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta is optimistic that they will be able to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, former Health Minister José Gomes Temporão notes that the Brazilian government has been hit with spending cuts in recent years.
“We are cutting resources to public health, and we will need additional resources now,” Temporão told The New York Times.
Brazil has reportedly been working in preparing for the coronavirus for weeks leading up to Carnival.
Despite the work, many fear that Brazil’s under budget and overstressed public health system might not be able to handle an outbreak. However, health officials told The New York Times that it appears that the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in São Paulo acted quickly using best practices to admit and quarantine the sick man.
The coronavirus has shown up in 38 countries on six continents around the world, including the U.S.
There are currently more than 50 cases of the coronavirus that have been reported in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Americans of the possibility of a more aggressive plan to limit the spread of the virus. The virus is spreading quickly across the world since it was first detected and reported in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019.
President Donald Trump has come under fire from health officials for not understanding the true magnitude of the virus.
The CDC issued a troubling warning of the virus the same day President Trump claimed that the coronavirus won’t have a large impact on the U.S. population. According to the CDC, they expect the virus to spread widely enough in the U.S. to cause a “disruption to everyday life.”
In a statement on the website, the CDC calls COVID-19 “a serious public health risk.” While it is not currently recognized as spreading in the U.S., the CDC does have a plan ready in case the virus begins to spread in U.S. communities.
“Community-level nonpharmaceutical intervention might include school dismissals and social distancing in other settings (e.g., postponement or cancellation of mass gatherings and telework and remote-meeting options in workplaces),” reads the CDC website. “These measures can be disruptive and might have societal and economic impact on individual persons and communities. However, studies have shown that early layered implementation of these interventions can reduce the community spread and impact of infectious pathogens such as pandemic influenza, even when specific pharmaceutical treatments and vaccines are not available. These measures might be critical to avert widespread COVID-19 transmission in U.S. communities.”
An earlier video from the CDC claims the risk of infection is low but for people to use tactics used to prevent the spread of the flu.
The CDC warns that people need to be vigilant about staying home from work, school, social gatherings, and other social activities if they are sick. The coronavirus symptoms are similar to the flu with a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. The CDC is asking for people to remain vigilant as we are in the time of year where other illnesses with similar symptoms, like the flu and common cold, are spreading in the U.S.
If you would like to learn more about COVID-19 and what to do if you think you have contracted the virus, click here and read what the CDC recommends.
COVID-19 is all anyone can talk about. There is little known about the virus and it seems that President Donald Trump has been exposed, yet there is no word on whether or not he has been tested. Brazilian government officials who recently met with President Trump and other Republican officials at Mar-a-Lago have tested positive for the virus and we deserve to know if our president is sick.
Several politicians have tested positive for COVID-19 after an event at Mar-a-Lago with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Miami’s mayor is the latest politician to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus after attending an event with Brazilian officials visiting Miami. Florida Senator Rick Scott was also at the event and has self-quarantined as a precaution. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has allegedly tested negative after attending the same event, according to Local10.com.
Mayor Francis Suarez tweeted a video addressing the residents of Miami explaining his self-quarantine and what residents should know.
Mayor Suarez made it clear that there should not be any panic among Miami residents. Mayor Suarez said he didn’t have any symptoms but self-quarantined after people who attended an event he was at tested positive for the virus.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro claims to have tested negative for the virus after reports alleged that he had tested positive.
Brazilian President Bolsonaro has claimed that he has tested negative for COVID-19 despite his press secretary recently testing positive for the virus. O Dia, a Brazilian new outlet, first reported the Bolsonaro tested positive and Fox News confirmed in. In response, Bolsonaro called it fake news and declared that he tested negative for the virus.
Bolsonaro’s press secretary Fabio Wajngarten, who interacted with President Trump and Vice President Pence, recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Wajngarten was at an event and had close contact with President Trump and Vice President Pence, as proved in the above photo. The press secretary is on the right standing next to President Trump. The kind of proximity to someone with COVID-19 is enough to warrant a self-quarantine and testing for the virus.
The White House press secretary is denying that President Trump had close contact with the Wajngarten despite standing next to him.
“Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “The White House Medical Unit and the United States Secret Service has been working closely with various agencies to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the First & Second Families, and all White House staff healthy.”
President Trump is 73 years old putting him in one of the most vulnerable demographics when it comes to the virus.
People 60 years old and up are facing some of the most fatal complications from COVID-19. One of the recommendations from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control is for people 65 years old and up no to fly. The U.S. government refused to make this announcement yet later tried to claim they did.
Due to his age and reported lifestyle, it is important that the American people find out if the president has contracted COVID-19.
President Trump, who spent the beginning of the outbreak trying to dismiss it as a Democratic hoax, has finally called for a national emergency. The national emergency over the coronavirus will allow for billions of dollars to be deployed to states for testing and treatment to get the virus’s spread under control.
President Trump’s recorded contact with people who have tested positive for the virus is sparking demands from Americans that he be tested.
There has been a lot of speculation about the president’s health and whether or not he is truly physically fit for the job. President Trump being of the age that proves more fatal for the coronavirus and his repeated exposure is reason enough for a test a public release of the results. The American people deserve to know if the president is healthy enough to lead the nation through this health crisis.