Things That Matter

Leonardo DiCaprio Stands Up To Fight Amazon Fires, Pledges $5M To Support Indigenous Groups

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. 

This Brazilian Paraglider Fell 150 Feet And Survived To Tell About It

Entertainment

This Brazilian Paraglider Fell 150 Feet And Survived To Tell About It

Top Litoral / Facebook

A paraglider in Brazil was filmed as he lost control of his parachute and began to fall 150 feet. The man, identified as Marinquinhos, 35, got caught in gusts of strong winds as he was gliding along a beach over the Dream Beach Hotel in Itanhaém on the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He lived to tell the tale. After Marinquinhos collided into a building, the video recorder rushed to his side and called emergency services. The fallen paraglider survived with fractures to both of his legs and is expected to make a full recovery. He’s currently being treated for his injuries at a hospital in Brazil.

The exact reason for Marinquinhos’ literal downfall has not been determined yet. In extreme sports like paragliding, human error can often be fatal, but Marinquinhos lucked out.

Marinquinhos valiantly tried to maneuver away from the buildings and toward the beach but the winds got the best of him.

Credit: Top Litoral / Facebook

In the video, you can see the paraglider being whipped around in the air as the parachute collapses, losing wind from its sails and the wind energy that kept him afloat. The video cuts short as he starts to fall, with the last frame of Marinquinhos’ body falling headfirst. The recorder drops the camera as the, what started out as idyllic, video of a paraglider soon becomes a nightmare. 

Later, images emerged of the paraglider’s parachute dangling from a second-story terrace as a group of people and medical personnel surround the extreme sports enthusiast. both of the man’s legs were stabilized in foam restraints as his wounds were bandaged on the scene. He managed to survive with relatively minor injuries, and enough of an adrenaline rush to probably last a lifetime, or at least until his broken bones heal. 

Statistically, paragliding isn’t any more dangerous than driving.

Credit: Top Litoral / Facebook

It doesn’t get you from point A to B, nor does our culture necessitate the risk as it does commuting to work, but as scary as paragliding accidents seem, the fatal risk of paragliding isn’t higher than that of driving. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, 4 out of every 1,000 Americans die in road crashes every single year. Meanwhile, in Germany, just 1 out of every 11,000 paraglider pilots suffer fatal injuries from the extreme sport, according to a New Zealand paragliding company. 

That said, a medical study conducted from August 2004 to September 2011 in Turkey found that of those patients who were hospitalized for paragliding injuries, more than 20% of them would succumb to those injuries. That’s a 1 in 5 chance that if you get into a paragliding accident, you will die (in Turkey). 

Paragliding was only just invented in the 1940s and popularized in the 1980s.

Credit: Top Litoral / Facebook

Those who start out paragliding usually do so accompanied by a pilot using a special parachute. Typically, you’re also outfitted with an emergency parachute in the case that the specially designed paragliding parachute fails. The perks of paragliding is that it’s considered an aviation sport that doesn’t require any logistical coordination with an airport. The aforementioned study also found that “the number of accidents that usually cause high energy trauma and subsequent morbidity or mortality has tended to increase in this sport correlatively with the increasing number of flights.” That is, the more people often a person makes a paragliding jump, and the more experience they acquire, the more likely they’ll be injured. Objectively, it makes sense when thinking about sheer exposure to the danger, but not in terms of expertise.

Men and tourists are more likely to be injured by paragliding.

CREDIT: Небо и Экстрим / YOUTUBE

The Turkish study found that more than half of those injured and killed by paragliding were tourists, seeking an adrenaline-rushed bird’s-eye view of their travel destination. More so, nearly 85% of those hospitalized were men. the most stomach-lurching statistic is obvious: injuries and fatalities are higher when the paragliding event failed mid-air. Of course, that means a long, terrifying fall from the sky and a long road to recovery if you’re lucky. The average length of hospital stay for a paragliding injury is 18 days in Turkey. In America, that’s called guaranteed medical bankruptcy, unless you have a wealthy circle of GoFundMe friends or scribble “Take the jump, go vegan!” on your hand before the flight.

We don’t need a medical or social study to declare the obvious: our mamis do not approve of this sport.

READ: Freak Rollercoaster Accident In Mexico City Kills Two And Injured Dozens Others

Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

Things That Matter

Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

@mr_nobody / Twitter

A Brazilian cancer survivor has been fitted with a prosthetic eye and face to cover the hole that a devastating bout of skin cancer left. Denise Vicentin, 52, beat her cancer a decade ago and has since been living without a part of her jaw and her right eye ever since. Vicentin was so self-conscious about her battle scars, she became afraid to go out in public. People would stare at her everywhere she went and, soon, her social life and marriage fell apart. “[Before] when I was on the metro or train, I tried not to pay attention to the stares. At places like the bowling alley, I felt them looking, and the person would even leave when they saw me,” she told the Daily Mail.

Ten years later, researchers were able to create a custom prosthetic using just a smartphone camera and a 3D printer. Now, she feels like she has her ‘missing piece’ and says she is so happy that she even sleeps with it on.

Years ago, she was offered a hand-made prosthetic, but it would have cost her half a million dollars.

CREDIT: @MR_NODOBY / TWITTER

A portion of her right jaw was removed, making it difficult for her to eat and slurring her speech. One of Vicentin’s most painful wounds left behind by the cancer was her inability to navigate throughout society without being ostracized or made to feel different. When doctors offered her the opportunity to have a prosthetic made for her, she had no choice but to turn it down. It would have cost over half a million U.S. dollars. 

Waiting for the right moment may have paid off for Vicentin. As technology has advanced, the capabilities of 3-D printing are only just now being realized. Vicentin sought out an alternative treatment at São Paulo’s Paulista University just last year and is already walking into 2020 with a new lease on self-confidence.

The final prosthesis just took 12 hours to create and a fraction of the cost thanks to 3-D printing technology.

CREDIT: @VAZIYETCOMTR / TWITTER

The research team at Paulista University formulated a plan to give Vicentin her ‘missing piece.’ Vicentin would have to undergo several surgeries over the next year in order to fit the prosthesis. Then, the doctors took 15 photos of Vicentin’s right eye socket from a simple smartphone. From there, they were able to use all the images to digitize a 3-D model that would eventually become the blueprint for the 3-D printer. 

The final model was printed and refined in just 12 hours, from a mixture of silicone, resin, and synthetic fibers. After the 3-D printer created the technical piece that would sit flush on Vicentin’s face, a bit of human artistry was applied to make the prosthetic as realistic as possible. The researchers painted the prosthetic to match Vicentin’s exact eye hue and skin color. They even individually secured lashes to resemble that of her other eyelid.

The research team has been perfecting 3-D prosthetics since 2016, offering new levels of confidence to over 50 patients so far.

CREDIT: @CANAL_44 / TWITTER

Dr. Rodrigo Salazar has specialized in maxillofacial prosthetics for the last few years and has married technology with medicine to create lasting change for his patients. In order to get a proper model for a prosthetic, he used to have to create a mold of the patient’s face, on the patient’s face. Today, he needs only a smartphone camera to capture the necessary data to create a model prosthetic. 

Vicentin never expected skin cancer to become a defining chapter of her life.

CREDIT: @VAZIYETCOMTR / TWITTER

When Vicentin was in her early 20s, she found a strange growth on her face and went to the doctor. It was a tumor, but it was benign, non-cancerous. She had it surgically removed and thought that was the end of it. It returned again, once again, benign. She had it removed a second time and enjoyed nearly 20 more years tumor-free. Ten years ago, the tumor came back, but it was malignant, slowly ravaging the right side of her face.

Today, Vicentin has titanium hooks surgically placed around her eye socket in order to be able to securely wear the prosthesis and take it off when she pleases. So far, Vicentin has been wearing the prosthetic for just a month and she loves it. ‘It was a long time looking at a face which was missing a piece, so I am so happy. I only took it off to clean it – I even slept with it,” Vicentin told the Daily Mail