Leonardo DiCaprio’s Powerful Climate Summit Speech


Thank you, Mr Secretary General, your excellencies,
ladies and gentleman, and distinguished guests. I’m honored to be here today, I stand before
you not as an expert but as a concerned citizen, one of the 400,000 people who marched in the
streets of New York on Sunday, and the billions of others around the world who want to solve
our climate crisis. As an actor I pretend for a living. I play
fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems. I believe humankind has looked at climate
change in that same way: as if it were a fiction, happening to someone else’s planet, as if
pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away. But I think we know better than that. Every
week, we’re seeing new and undeniable climate events, evidence that accelerated climate
change is here now. We know that droughts are intensifying, our oceans are warming and
acidifying, with methane plumes rising up from beneath the ocean floor. We are seeing
extreme weather events, increased temperatures, and the West Antarctic and Greenland ice-sheets
melting at unprecedented rates, decades ahead of scientific projections. None of this is rhetoric, and none of it is
hysteria. It is fact. The scientific community knows it, Industry and governments know it,
even the United States military knows it. The chief of the US navy’s Pacific command,
admiral Samuel Locklear, recently said that climate change is our single greatest security
threat. My Friends, this body – perhaps more than
any other gathering in human history – now faces that difficult task. You can make history
… or be vilified by it. To be clear, this is not about just telling
people to change their light bulbs or to buy a hybrid car. This disaster has grown BEYOND
the choices that individuals make. This is now about our industries, and governments
around the world taking decisive, large-scale action. I am not a scientist, but I don’t need to
be. Because the world’s scientific community has spoken, and they have given us our prognosis,
if we do not act together, we will surely perish. Now is our moment for action. We need to put a price tag on carbon emissions,
and eliminate government subsidies for coal, gas, and oil companies. We need to end the
free ride that industrial polluters have been given in the name of a free-market economy,
they don’t deserve our tax dollars, they deserve our scrutiny. For the economy itself
will die if our ecosystems collapse. The good news is that renewable energy is
not only achievable but good economic policy. New research shows that by 2050 clean, renewable
energy could supply 100% of the world’s energy needs using existing technologies,
and it would create millions of jobs. This is not a partisan debate; it is a human
one. Clean air and water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving
this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation – if, admittedly,
a daunting one. We only get one planet. Humankind must become
accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting
our future on this planet depends on the conscious evolution of our species. This is the most urgent of times, and the
most urgent of messages. Honored delegates, leaders of the world, I
pretend for a living. But you do not. The people made their voices heard on Sunday around
the world and the momentum will not stop. And now it’s YOUR turn, the time to answer
the greatest challenge of our existence on this planet … is now. I beg you to face it with courage. And honesty.
Thank you.

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