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  • Writer's pictureJohn Pabon

Is Leo a Good Climate Ambassador?

Leonardo DiCaprio

In "The Great Greenwashing" I devote considerable space to celebrities and their impact on sustainability.

Celebrities and social causes have always gone hand-in-hand. Coco Chanel sought to empower women through her designs. Jane Fonda campaigned against the Vietnam War. Princess Diana worked tirelessly to destigmatise HIV and AIDS.

At the end of the day, the problem isn’t that people are supporting causes, raising awareness, or giving to charity. These are worthwhile moves to help shape a more sustainable future. Given their status and resources, those at the top of society should be doing more than their fair share. It’s when the support, barracking, and giving lack sincerity. The litmus test is whether efforts are more performative than not.

Recently, Leonardo DiCaprio beat out other climate heavyweights to be named the most trusted authority on the climate crisis. Does he pass our litmus test?

He may not be perfect (spoiler alert: nobody is). But he's probably a better ambassador and role model than most other celebrities. He's spent time learning from experts and experiencing things on the ground. Yes, Leo likes his private jets and superyachts, so this isn’t giving him a pass. If we’re talking about positive contributions outweighing the costs, he has certainly banked a bit of leeway.

The key now is to capitalise on that status so we can move people to action. If the people are turning to Leo for answers, then we damned well better remember our audience.

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