Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Donates $1 Million To Aid Ocean Conservation

Leonardo DiCaprio has made it clear that he is concerned about the environment and climate change, and now he's putting his money where his mouth is. Through the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, he is donating $1,000,000 to the non-profit Nature Conservancy, according to Tech Times. In this venture, Leonardo DiCaprio will be helping to provide funds for a project that will protect the oceans surrounding Seychelles, a small African nation.

The Seychelles will be swapping debt in return for making serious efforts to conserve the oceans surrounding the islands. Part of that plan will include building and maintaining a large marine sanctuary that will be established in the West Indian Ocean. The ocean area that will be protected makes up 99 percent of the Seychelles nation.

Lenders, including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, will aid in protecting 154,000 square miles of ocean territory that surrounds 115 small islands. $21,400,000 worth of debt that is owed by Seychelles will be restructured. This will all be managed through the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust.

Leondardo DiCaprio Founday Donates $1 Million To Aid Ocean Conservation
[Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]An additional $5,000,000 was raised through private lenders. Lenders include the Oak Foundations, the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Foundation, the Turnbull Burnstein Family Charitable Fund, the Waitt Foundation, the China Global Conservation Fund, and of course, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

It is the hope of everyone involved, including Leonardo DiCaprio, that this will help increase life in the ocean and also be a starting point to creating other agreements like this in other areas of the world.

The goal is to help the nation of Seychelles build an ecosystem that is more sturdy and resilient. This will be good for the islands' economy. Coral reefs will receive protection. Damaging fishing practices will be limited and eventually eliminated.

In a press release, Leonardo DiCaprio said,

"I'm proud my Foundation is partnering with Seychelles and The Nature Conservancy on this innovative project that will protect this vital ocean habitat and fragile marine life. We champion projects like this one across the globe that use cutting edge methods in conservation and environmental protection. This deal will enhance food security for the local people of Seychelles, help mitigate the effects of climate change on their low lying island home, and protect the surrounding rich ocean ecosystems for future generations."
Only last month, Leonardo DiCaprio won his very first Oscar award and he used the opportunity to talk about climate change for a few minutes.
Leonardo DiCaprio said, in his Oscars speech, "we collectively felt in 2015…the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. 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. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters but who speak for all of humanity."

You can see his speech here:

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has been actively supporting causes that help our planet for some time now. DiCaprio has made it his mission to make sure that projects that support wildlife, ecosystems, rain forests, and more are provided with funds that they need. Since the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation began in 1998, it has helped 70 projects across five oceans and more than 40 countries. You can follow up with the activities that Leonardo and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is involved in by subscribing to their email newsletter on their website.

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]