Hollywood actor and Climate Change activist, Leonardo DiCaprio extended his support to Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation, that has undertaken an initiative called ‘Cauvery Calling’ to protect and restore the Cauvery river. A source for the livelihood, irrigation and drinking water for an estimated 84 million people, the river has witnessed a reported 87% depletion of forests on its banks, in the past the 70 years.
There are concerns about this initiative after a petitioner (Advocate A.V Amarnathan) asked why the foundation was raising money to plant trees, according to a report in TheNewsMinute. The foundation’s website claims the initiative’s aim to plant 253 crore plants, by collecting Rs 42/- per tree. Which means the foundation aims to raise a reported sum of Rs 10,626 crore. A collection of this size, the petitioner argued, is something that should at least be subjected to a state audit.
Meanwhile, civil society groups have written a letter to the actor revoke support to Jaggi Vasudev’s initiative. Activists said that the campaign would assist the ‘denigration of systematic and serious efforts necessary to address complex environmental and social justice causes’. They’ve described the foundation’s aim as ‘simplistic’ and stated that he may ‘not have been properly advised on the matter’ and urged him to ‘withdraw the second part of his message’. You can read the full text of the letter here.
Leonardo DiCaprio also took to social media to give a shout-out to teen-activist, Greta Thunberg, currently taking the world by storm. He reminisced about his own speech at the United Nations in 2014, and shared his enthusiasm and support for Thunberg’s thunderous speech schooling world leaders for ignoring the impending crisis.
DiCaprio has been a vocal climate activist, something he even touched upon during his Academy Award acceptance speech. He’s made two documentaries The 11th Hour and Before The Flood, where he’s gone around the world seeking leaders’ advice for sustainable development solutions. Recently, when the city of Chennai faced a water crisis, DiCaprio used his social media to bring it to the notice to his fans from around the world.