Site icon Conservation news

DiCaprio joins $5M effort to combat Amazon fires

CANDEIRAS DO JAMARI, RONDÔNIA, BRAZIL: Aerial view of a large burned area in the city of Candeiras do Jamari in the state of Rondônia. (Photo: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace)

CANDEIRAS DO JAMARI, RONDÔNIA, BRAZIL: Aerial view of a large burned area in the city of Candeiras do Jamari in the state of Rondônia. (Photo: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace)

  • In response to rising deforestation and fires in the Amazon, on Sunday actor Leonardo DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth announced the establishment of a $5 million fund to support indigenous communities and other first responders working to protect the Amazon.
  • The Amazon Forest Fund is the first major initiative of the Earth Alliance, which Global Wildlife Conservation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and the Emerson Collective formed in July.
  • The fund’s initial grants went to five Brazilian organizations: Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida, the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, Instituto Kabu, Instituto Raoni, and Instituto Socioambiental.
  • The establishment of the fund comes amid global outcry over rising deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. After years of declining deforestation in the region, forest clearing spiked in July. Then last week, smoke from land-clearing fires blackened the skies above Sao Paulo, acting as a catalyst for worldwide awareness of the issue.

In response to rising deforestation and fires in the Amazon, on Sunday actor Leonardo DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth announced the establishment of a $5 million fund to support indigenous communities and other first responders working to protect the Amazon.

“The largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution,” DiCaprio said in an Instagram post. “Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check.”

CANDEIRAS DO JAMARI, RONDÔNIA, BRAZIL: Aerial view of a large burned area in the city of Candeiras do Jamari in the state of Rondônia. (Photo: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace)

The Amazon Forest Fund is the first major initiative of the Earth Alliance, which Global Wildlife Conservation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and the Emerson Collective formed in July. The fund’s initial grants went to five Brazilian organizations: Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida (Kayapo), the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), Instituto Kabu (Kayapo), Instituto Raoni (Kayapo), and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

“We are proud to support [these] local organizations combating the fires, protecting indigenous lands, and providing relief to the communities impacted,” said Earth Alliance in an Instagram post.

Three of the organizations are run by the Kayapo, an indigenous group whose territories serve as a bulwark against deforestation on Brazil’s so-called “Arc of Deforestation”.

NOVA BANDEIRANTES, MATO GROSSO, BRAZIL. Aerial view of burned areas in the Amazon rainforest, in the city of Nova Bandeirantes, Mato Grosso state. (Photo: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace)

The establishment of the fund comes amid global outcry over rising deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. After years of declining deforestation in the region, forest clearing spiked in July. Then last week, smoke from land-clearing fires blackened the skies above Sao Paulo, one of the world’s largest metropolises, acting as a catalyst for worldwide awareness of the issue. European governments and Canada have now pledged tens of millions of dollars to support fire-fighting efforts.

But addressing fires in the long-run will require more than fire-fighting, say environmentalists, who have sharply criticized the Bolsonaro administration’s roll-back of environmental regulations, amnesty for illegal deforesters, and heated rhetoric against indigenous peoples, scientists, and activists.

Cumulative deforestation through July for each year from 2008 according to INPE’s DETER system. Deforestation this year is on the fastest pace since 2008.
Cumulative fire hotspots in the Brazilian Amazon according to INPE. Note: August 2019 data is through August 24. Fires in Amazonia are at the highest level since 2010.

“The fires that are devastating the Amazon are also destroying Brazil’s image internationally,” said Márcio Astrini, Public Policy Coordinator at Greenpeace Brazil in a statement. “Even the agribusiness sectors are already admitting that the government’s anti-environmental policies can bring economic damage. In the meantime, Bolsonaro is not announcing any concrete measures to fight deforestation.”

“Taking action to end deforestation must be everyone’s goal and an obligation of those who lead the country.”

Related stories:

Disclosure: Mongabay received a grant from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 2017, but is not an active grantee. The Foundation has no editorial influence on what we publish.