The Amazon is on fire, and we’re not talking about some kind of special 2-day Amazon free shipping on everything sale. The actual Amazon rainforest covers 40% of South America, and it’s currently burning at its highest rate since 2013. It’s scary enough that I cannot with a good conscience make a “Somebody call 911, shawty fire burning in the forest” joke. The Amazon needs help, and Leonardo DiCaprio has swooped in with $5 million.
CNN says that Leonardo DiCaprio has a new environmental charity called Earth Alliance. Leonardo – along with Earth Alliance co-founders Laurene Powell Jobs (Steve Jobs’ widow) and Brian Sheth (a 43-year-old billionaire) – announced yesterday that they’ve formed an emergency fund for the Amazon and dropped $5 million into it. The $5 million will reportedly go toward local resources to protect the Amazon against the fires.
#EarthAlliance has formed an emergency Amazon Forest Fund with $5m to focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires. Learn more & donate: https://t.co/uG2WoEoKqx pic.twitter.com/IbcubQCO4v
— Earth Alliance (@earthalliance) August 25, 2019
This isn’t that much of a surprise. Next to whatever 20-ish model he’s banging at the time, Mother Earth is Leonardo’s favorite woman. But it might be interesting to put that $5 million commitment into perspective. Leo is worth an estimated $260 million. Brian Sheth is worth an estimated $2.2 billion. Laurene Powell Jobs is worth an estimated $21.3 billion. That $5 million donation is actually only about 0.021 percent of their collective net worth of $23.5 billion dollars.
How the fires got so bad can be explained a little by CNN. They say that the fire was man-made, and most likely started to clear vegetation to make room for cattle grazing. Brazil is the second-highest producer of beef (US is number one). CNN says that many environmentalists put the blame on Brazil’s current right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who they believe has relaxed environmental protection and promoted deforestation. So it could be the result of climate change, or because of a crappy political regime. But it sounds like Earth Alliance’s donation might be more of a Band-Aid solution to the problem.
It might also end up being a bit of a mess. Earth Alliance didn’t specifically say who the money was going to or exactly what it would be used for. Like, maybe that $5 million is going toward trying to put out the fires, or maybe it will go to a board of directors who will spend four months trying to decide the best way to put out the fires. At the very least, Leonardo probably shouldn’t deliver it himself. His yacht will take way too long, and I don’t know if his private jet could withstand the heat coming off those fires. Ask Captain Planet to deliver it, I’m sure he’d be happy to oblige.