New York Youth Climate Leaders
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
By: Savanna Jiang
In this day and age, we all know celebrities for their work, whether it be their marvelous acting, bustling headlines, or multi-million dollar companies. However, we often don't think of their work as activists. Whether you’re a Leonardo DiCaprio fangirl or just curious about whose movies you should support, below is a non-exhaustive list of celebrities who continue to stand up for the environment. Lights, camera, and most importantly: action.
We’ve all heard of the big green hero who saves the world from the universe’s greatest villains in the Marvel comics and films. But, are we acknowledging the big green hero who is constantly fighting for climate action and using his raging anger against environmental degradation?
The inspiring actor that portrays the big green monster created from gamma radiation was cast perfectly. Mark Ruffalo is an anti-fracking activist. When he’s not playing roles in action movies, the actor pours his energy and personal wealth into trying to eliminate irresponsible energy development. In 2010, Ruffalo founded Water Defense, a New York based organization dedicated to banning hydraulic fracturing in the Empire State.
In June 2015, Ruffalo teamed up with Leonardo DiCaprio, another successful actor, to hold a campaign dubbed “100 Percent” in a park in New York. Together, they urged the public to focus their attention on clean energy that is renewable and more affordable. In his campaign, he partnered with various New York leaders to create a better environment. Not only was there bustling entertainment and a huge turnout, but the food was transported in solar powered vehicles as well!
Taking notes from the inspiring actor, we see that it is possible to balance work with activism. Ruffalo has spent more than half a decade working on the Avengers movie franchise, not to mention the endless list of other films such as Zodiac, Shutter Island, Spotlight; the list goes on and on. Even with Ruffalo’s extremely successful and inspiring career, he still manages to actively fight for environmental conservation.
Leonardo has all of our hearts from being on the big screen, from Titanic to The Great Gatsby, but what really makes him one of the biggest heartthrobs in Hollywood is his passion for environmentalism. In 1998, he created the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to support organizations and initiatives dedicated to securing a sustainable future for our planet.
Since then, DiCaprio has built longstanding relationships with some of the greatest climate leaders across the world, staying engaged and active on the most pressing environmental issues we face — climate change, access to clean water, protecting biodiversity, ocean conservation, and disaster relief.
DiCaprio is currently sitting on the boards of several organizations dedicated to a clean and healthy earth. These organizations include the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Global Green USA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Through the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, DiCaprio has produced a number of projects that help communicate the urgency of environmental issues to the public. He narrated two short web films, Water Planet and Global Warning, which have been viewed by people around the world on YouTube. In 2007, he released his first feature-length documentary, The 11th Hour, which is an inspiring film that features over 50 of the world’s leading experts and some of the most interesting solutions to the environmental issues that face our planet.
Savanna Jiang is a current freshman at Guilderland High School and is a huge fan of the Marvel franchise.