Back in 2016, Leonardo DiCaprio finally took home the Best Actor statuette at the Academy Awards thanks to his performance in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “The Revenant.” But for a noted environmental activist such as DiCaprio — one who declared, in his Oscars acceptance speech, “Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species” — a recent honor might be an even sweeter one.
According to BBC.com, scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, London, recently honored the “Titanic” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” star for his work in trying to save the rainforests from the dangers of logging by naming a tree after him.
“We think he was crucial in helping to stop the logging of the Ebo Forest,” Dr. Martin Cheek told the BBC.
When the Ebo Forest in Cameroon was under threat of logging in 2020, DiCaprio shared the issue with his millions of social media followers, writing, “Cameroon’s Ebo Forest, and all of the incredible animals that live there, are in trouble. This includes Forest Elephants, Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and so many others. Let’s help #SaveEboForest.” His posts added momentum to the campaign to save the relatively untouched rainforest in Central Africa. Plans to allow logging in the forest were subsequently canceled by the government.
Now, DiCaprio is the namesake for a recently discovered species of tree thought to only grow in the Ebo Forest. Officially named “Uvariopsis dicaprio,” the tree is on the “critically endangered” list. Part of the ylang ylang family, the tropical evergreen boasts glossy yellow leaves.
In addition to his environmental activism, DiCaprio starred in the late 2021 Netflix release “Don’t Look Up” as an astronomer who, with a colleague played by Jennifer Lawrence, tries to convince the world to act swiftly before a meteor destroys the planet. The Adam McKay movie has proven divisive with critics and audiences, but DiCaprio has received strong notices for his atypical turn, including for a long, “Network” like breakdown speech that he rewrote 15 times, according to writer-director Adam McKay. His pleas for the environment were not as successful in reel life as they seem to have been in real life thus far.