DiCaprio pledges $5M to combat Amazon wildfires, seeks support to repair Brazilian rainforest
The actor, in association with philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth, announced the launch of the Amazon Forest Fund.
NEW YORK: A new environmental foundation backed by Leonardo DiCaprio is pledging $5 million in aid to the Amazon, which has been swept by wildfires.
Earth Alliance was created in July by DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth. On August 25, it launched the Amazon Forest Fund in an announcement on their website. The alliance is also seeking donations to help repair the Brazilian rainforest, called the lungs of the planet.
Brazilian federal experts reported a record number of wildfires across the country this year, up 84% over the same period in 2018.
The funds will be distributed to five local groups working to combat the problem: Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida, Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, Instituto Kabu, Instituto Raoni, and Instituto Socioambiental.
According to the data, large swathes of the Amazon rainforest have been wiped out as more than 9,000 wildfires occurred in the region over the penultimate week of August. The wildfires had reportedly spewed massive clouds of smoke which plunged the Brazilian capital Sao Paulo into darkness. The region, however, has not yet reached peak wildfire season and the number of wildfires this year have already surpassed the previous record of more than 68,000 fires in 2016.
Despite the alarming pictures and data, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had dismissed climate concerns citing that farmers in the area have been using fire to clear land for the winter.