Leonardo Di Caprio has finally done it – he won his first Oscar.
While I maintain that he didn’t deserve it for The Revenant (yes, I said it), he is a brilliant actor. His work speaks for itself.
The Oscars is probably one of the most powerful platforms, not only in the film and entertainment industry, but the world over.
High level leading actors, musicians, producers, writers, business people, and politicians take time to be there.
Di Caprio knew this when accepting his award, and he took the opportunity to preach some hard truths.
Apart from thanking the key figures in his life, Di Caprio ended on the very serious note of climate change – something a lot of us choose to live in denial of.
I am not here to repeat many of the facts you already know, but indulge me for a moment.
Di Caprio mentions that The Revenant was all about man’s relationship with the environment and that the film crew had to go to the southernmost tip of the world just to find snow.
Last year, according to Di Caprio – and many scientists would support this – was the hottest year in recorded history. In fact, some parts of Europe, such as the United Kingdom, experienced more rain in their winter than they normally do. The UK experienced the worst floods in a hundred years – pretty hectic.
So why the fuss?
Well apart from drought, hunger, the depletion of natural resources, and the possible lack of water in the next few decades – we’ll be okay… right?
Let me get to the nub of it, lest I am accused of being alarmist.
In his address, DiCaprio refers to climate change as “the most urgent threat facing our species,” and he talks about the need for people to support leaders around the world who do not speak for “the big polluters and the big corporations” – instead, they should support those who speak for the people whose voices have been “drowned out by the politics of greed”.
This statement is true.
In fact, Di Caprio was speaking to them already – the big corporations, that is!
The people he was arguing we need to do something about were right in front of him.
Human beings are consumers.
We love things, whatever they may be. And we don’t just love things, we like “nice things”. The trouble is, the “nice things” we enjoy have to come from somewhere: the environment.
In that room where the Oscars were being handed out, the value of the clothes alone could have easily reached hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Those products are made from the finest raw materials which in turn, have to come from the environment we dearly love.
The trouble is, those actors spend half, if not more, of their acting careers promoting a lifestyle that we all envy and desire – so we do our best to get those products and behave in a certain way, at the cost of the climate.
Turning around climate change is not going to come about purely from a scientific solution – it will involve behavioural change on our part, too.
This means that our living patterns will have to change.
That will start, I hope, if those we look up to show the way, like Leo was urging.
I wonder how many of those actors and superstars, with their private jets and massive gas-guzzlers (vehicles) think about climate change when using them to travel.
I wouldn’t know, but I also wouldn’t hold my breath.
The point I’m making is that the world’s largest consumers of products – who in this case also happen to be the world’s wealthiest – need to lead the way. Otherwise their applause and Leo’s speech remain just that – a good speech and a round of applause.
That being said, we need to look at what we can contribute before looking at the speck in our brother’s eye.
You can watch his acceptance speech below: