Leonardo DiCaprio's 'Time' 100 Essay Highlights His Activism, & More People Need To Know About It
It might be a little too early to say for sure, but 2016 might actually be Leonardo DiCaprio's year. He finally scored that Oscar he's deserved forever, and now, he's included in the 2016 Time 100 Most Influential People list, which is a huge honor, especially since he made one of the magazine's six covers for the special issue. It seems like a no-brainer that DiCaprio should be on this list; his talent alone is enough to merit him a spot. But that's not the only way DiCaprio has impacted the world, and it might not even be the most important way, either. In an essay John Kerry wrote about DiCaprio for the list, he points out that it's not necessarily his acting achievements that make him so special — it's his activism for the environment, too.
If you're a DiCaprio fan, you probably already know about his organization, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which helps fund conservation projects around the world. And if you follow him on Twitter, you also know that the majority of his tweets aren't about his personal life or even his career — instead, he uses the power behind social media to spread the word about how important it is to take care of the earth. And although Kerry does mention that DiCaprio's performance in The Revenant and the dedication he put into preparing for the role are amazing, he uses his fame to do so much good, too.
In his essay about DiCaprio, Kerry writes:
He has employed his cinematic skills—in front of the lens and behind it—to make films that document our planet’s plight. He has discussed environmental threats directly with world leaders from Vladimir Putin to Pope Francis. And when I invited him to join the State Department’s first global Our Ocean conference, aimed at building collaboration to protect one of our most critical resources, Leo didn’t just show up—he put up millions of dollars for ocean protection as part of the effort.
The fact that Kerry chose to write the essay based on DiCaprio's environmentalism instead of his Hollywood achievements speaks volumes. When you think of DiCaprio, you think of the characters he's played on screen, from Jack in Titanic to Jordan Belford in The Wolf of Wall Street. His activism isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think of DiCaprio, but maybe it should be. And from the way this essay is written — and from the way he presents himself on Twitter — it seems like that might be what DiCaprio himself wants everyone to think of, too.
"Twenty years ago, Leo captured the hearts of millions of moviegoers by declaring, 'I’m the king of the world!'" Kerry adds. "Through his work and example, today he’s inspiring many millions more to help save it."
I am so happy that DiCaprio finally won that Oscar (even if I'm bummed to see the memes go), but that's not the only reason he's influential. He's changing the world in so many other ways, too, and it's exciting to think about what he might accomplish in the future.