Earth Alliance, an environmental group co-founded and actively ran by Leonardo DiCaprio, has recently announced that it will be donating $5m (USD) to help combat the fires currently threatening the Amazon rainforest, which has recently been at the centre of attention across social media.
The initial commitment will help “focus critical resources on the key protections needed to maintain the ‘lungs of the planet’”, Earth Alliance recently explained, encouraging members of the public to donate as well. Earth Alliance’s emergency fund will be dispersed between five local groups working to combat the fires. They are: Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida, Co-ordination of the Indigenous Organisations of the Brazilian Amazon, Instituto Kabu, Instituto Raoni and Instituto Socioambiental.
In an Instagram post, DiCaprio stated that the fund’s main purpose was “to focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the life-sustaining biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires currently burning across the region.”
“These funds will be distributed directly to local partners and the indigenous communities protecting the Amazon, the incredible diversity of wildlife that lives there, and the health of the planet overall,” the group said.
DiCaprio also then announced the aid package on Instagram, explaining “The lungs of the Earth are in flames. The Brazilian Amazon – home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species – has been burning for more than two weeks straight.”
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The Amazon rainforest burning from above, captured just two days ago by Brazilian photographer @VictorMoriyama on an overflight with @greenpeacebrasil. Now is the time to take action. Help support the @EarthAlliance Amazon Forest Fund. Please visit ealliance.org/amazonfund (link in bio) for more information and to donate.
Singer Madonna took to Instagram on Friday to urge Bolsonaro to alter his policies on climate change and the Amazon, while actor Jaden Smith, rapper Lil Nas X and supermodel Cara Delevingne have brought the issue to the attention of millions on social media.
DiCaprio originally helped to set up Earth Alliance with the billionaires Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth.
At a G7 summit meeting on the climate this morning, which Donald Trump did not attend, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, confirmed that the group had committed $20m of their own to combat the fires. Speaking at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Macron also said he had a long discussion with President Donald Trump about the issue, adding that Trump supported the G-7 initiative. The G-7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. — represent 40% of global GDP.
The pledges come as nearly 80,000 fires have been reported across the country this year, with around 9,000 currently burning, and Brazilian military planes have begun airdropping water over the ravaged areas.
Many of the fires are believed to have been set by farmers and ranchers, with the tacit approval of Brazil’s anti-environmentalist president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has reduced environmental protections. Macron and Bolsonaro sparred over such accusations over the weekend.
Earth Alliance was among the many others to allude to the deliberate, potentially criminal, setting of many of the fires.
“Large-scale cattle operations and feed crops – much of it illegal – along with some impacts from logging, are the primary drivers of this deforestation,” the group explained.
“The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is rapidly releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, destroying an ecosystem that absorbs millions of tons of carbon emissions every year and is one of the planet’s best defenses against the climate crisis,” Earth Alliance Earth wrote.
“In addition, indigenous peoples’ land covers about 110m hectares of the Brazilian Amazon, making the region critical … for the cultural survival, self-determination, and wellbeing of the Amazon’s indigenous peoples.”