Leonardo DiCaprio tried to avoid politics in a recent promotional interview for his upcoming Oscar-tipped film The Revenant — but the actor and environmental activist couldn’t help but praise Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, whom he called “inspiring” for his recent call to action on climate change.
In a wide-ranging interview for Wired magazine, DiCaprio, who addressed the Cop21 international climate change conference in Paris this month, said that he admired the way Sanders prioritized the fight against global warming.
“Look, not to get political, but listening to Bernie Sanders at that first presidential debate was pretty inspiring—to hear what he said about the environment,” the Oscar-nominated actor told Wired. “Who knows which candidate is going to become our next president, but we need to create a dialogue about it. I mean, when they asked each of the candidates what the most important issue facing our planet is, Bernie Sanders simply said ‘climate change.’ To me that’s inspiring.”
The actor, who recently committed a faux pas by mistakenly attributing the common Canadian Chinook wind weather pattern to climate change, told the magazine that 2015 marked a “massive tipping point in the climate change struggle.”
As I said, it’s the hottest year in recorded history. July was the hottest month in recorded history. We’re seeing methane bubbling up from underneath the seafloor. There are massive heat waves, drought, fires going on; ocean acidification is happening on a massive scale. It’s scary. I went to Greenland and there are rivers flowing like it’s the middle of the Grand Canyon. The question is, what do we do to mitigate that? Are we going to come together as a world community? Are we going to evolve as a species and actually combat this issue? The human race has never done anything like that in the history of civilization.
DiCaprio attended and spoke at the Cop21 conference in Paris earlier this month, where he met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and urged local representatives from around the world to act quickly to strike a climate change agreement because the world is “fundamentally running out of time.”
“Climate change is the most fundamental and existential threat to our species,” DiCaprio told world mayors at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders. “The consequences are unthinkable and worse, it has the potential to make our planet unlivable.”
In his Wired interview, the Revenant star urged technology players in Silicon Valley to join in the Divest-Invest movement, where individuals pledge to divest from fossil fuel holdings and invest in renewable energy technology. The actor made the divestment pledge on behalf of his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in September.
DiCaprio has undertaken a number of environmental initiatives over the past year; in September 2014, the actor participated in the People’s Climate March in New York City just days before being appointed a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In April, DiCaprio announced plans to turn an unincorporated private island off of the coast of Belize into an eco-friendly resort paradise, and in June, the actor founded the “100%” renewable energy initiative with fellow actor and environmentalist Mark Ruffalo.
DiCaprio’s environmental activism has met with accusations of hypocrisy in the past; in April, hacked internal Sony emails published by WikiLeaks revealed the actor used a private jet six times over a six-week period in 2014.