Leonardo DiCaprio Leads $43 Million Pledge to Restore Galapagos Islands
Leonardo DiCaprio is campaigning to revive the Galapagos Islands, hoping to rewild the environmentally destroyed islands. The Oscar award-winning actor is leading a $43 million pledge that will tackle the environmental damages on the island chain, partnering with conservation groups including the Galapagos National Park Directorate and Island Conservation. DiCaprio plans to engage with the local community to properly assess how to help restore the islands.
Before this announcement, DiCaprio launched Re:wild alongside conservation experts and scientists, an organization dedicated to assisting local solutions to an immense variety of issues that harm communities globally. DiCaprio says that his new initiate will “amplify and scale the local solutions led by Indigenous peoples and local communities, nongovernmental organizations, companies, and government agencies.”
“More than half of Earth’s remaining wild areas could disappear in the next few decades if we don’t decisively act,” DiCaprio wrote on Twitter. “This is why today I am excited to launch @Rewild - to help protect what’s still wild and restore the rest.”
The $43 million pledge will be directly allocated to rewilding Floreana Island, which houses 140 people and 54 threatened species including penguins, petrels, iguanas, snails, and Darwin’s finches. Re:wild claims that its protected more than 12 million acres, helping over 16,000 species. The organization is working to protect environments and animals across the world, restoring ecosystems that have been severely damaged. Re:wild also plans to reintroduce locally extinct species to their old habitats, reviving the scarred ecosystem.
“We have seen rewilding in our lifetime, so we don’t really have to wait five years or 20 or 50 years. These are immediate results,” Island Conservation’s Paula Castano told the Guardian. “We will see the payoff for all these efforts, and not across only the Galapagos, but farther beyond archipelagos in Latin America.”
Earlier this week, Castano took over Re:wild and DiCaprio’s social media accounts to prepare for the initiative’s debut, sharing information about the conservation projects that already exist in the Galapagos region. Castano hoped to underline that local communities are at the forefront of the restoration efforts.
“For us, it is an honor to live here in Galapagos with the flora and fauna of the Galapagos, which is unique and cannot be found elsewhere,” Galapagos National Park ranger Anibal Altamiro told Re:wild. “For me as a person, as a citizen of Floreana, and as a park ranger it is very important that each of us live in harmony with nature.”
Recently, DiCaprio joined forces with dairy-identical ice cream company Perfect Day. The start-up organized a Sustainability & Health Advisory Council that aims to enhance environmentally-conscious manufacturing and sustainability.
“A full-fledged response to climate change must bring innovation to all aspects of our daily lives – including to the foods we consume,” DiCaprio said. “Perfect Day’s forward-looking vision offers a new model for reducing the impact that our diets have on the planet. I’m pleased to be part of their advisory council and work together to support our shared urgent environmental mission.”