Hollywood makes their mark on helping climate change



Leonardo DiCaprio, left, visits Goddard Space Flight Center to discuss Earth science with meteorologist and astronaut Piers Sellers.

Katherine Manatos

With the leadership and support of Hollywood stars Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio, the fight against climate change is being brought to the attention of larger and more influential audiences.

Mark Ruffalo, known for his role as “The Hulk,” uses his off-screen superpowers to combat the effects of climate change. Ruffalo has starred in multiple documentaries — “In This Climate” and “Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution is Now” — that call forth the issues of climate change.

Ruffalo is also the founder of The Solutions Project, which works to elevate women and people of color that work for businesses promoting innovations to prevent climate change. The organization’s goal is to give an often-overlooked group a platform by providing funds, audiences and connections to celebrities, influencers and other scientists.

Ruffalo said in an interview for Grist that his platform can create change by elevating intelligent scientists and leaders who go unnoticed.

“I became an activist a number of years ago, when a good friend took me to Dimock, Pa., and I met residents who were concerned that the fracking going on in their community was contaminating their drinking water,” Ruffalo said. “They were being ignored, and they asked me to be their voice.”

Leonardo DiCaprio, who worked closely with Ruffalo on the set of “Shutter Island,” also works to promote environmental awareness wherever and whenever possible. DiCaprio became devoted to the cause in 1998 and created the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

The goal of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, according to Ruffalo’s Solutions Project, is to help advance the United Nations climate negotiations, protect coral reefs and tigers and spread public awareness about the dangers of climate change.

DiCaprio’s other contributions include attending the People’s Climate March in 2017, meeting with President Donald Trump to encourage environmental protection and using his speech at the Oscars to bring to light the effects of climate change.

“Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating,” DiCaprio said.

DiCaprio is also a part of many environmental boards, including the Worldwide Fund for Nature, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Global Green USA and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Junior Nicola DeGregorio of Middletown is familiar with both DiCaprio and Ruffalo’s involvement in climate change and said that because of their status, the use of their platforms can greatly influence the public.

“I do think that what they’re doing will make changes because I think there is this kind of culture, especially with Gen-Z, where you stan people and follow everything they do. If they advocate for certain things you kind of just go along with them because of your devotion to that person,” DeGregorio said.

Explorer in residence for National Geographic, Enric Sala, worked with DiCaprio and agrees that his reach could be life-changing.

“He has a megaphone that nobody else on the planet has,” Sala said. “He is so respected and admired and influential all around the world from the general public to head of state, so when he says something people listen.”

The voices of Hollywood’s stars reach many, therefore with their influence, the knowledge of climate change can spread fast. Ruffalo believes that with the help of the public, the fight against climate change is a winning battle.

“The good news is we don’t need superhero strength to protect our planet. We need education, and a collective, grassroots movement that is well underway,” Ruffalo said.