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Leonardo DiCaprio outlined the grave dangers of “accelerated climate change” during a Tuesday speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York, telling attendees, “You can make history, or you will be vilified by it.”
The actor, newly minted as a U.N. Messenger of Peace, prefaced his 3½-minute remarks at the General Assembly with humility and said that government and industry — not just individuals — needed to take immediate action.
“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,” he said.
“As an actor, I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters, often solving fictitious problems,” DiCaprio continued. “I believe that mankind has looked at climate change in that same way — as if it were a fiction, as if pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away.”
DiCaprio, one of the most outspoken celebrities on the issue of climate change, framed the topic in unsparing terms. “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 our governments around the world taking decisive and large-scale action,” he said.
Watch the speech below.