The long-time environmentalist recently donated $1 million to ocean conservation efforts in the small African nation of Seychelles.
Actor and renowned philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio has made waves with a sizable donation to another environmental project. Following his January donation of $3.4 million to the indigenous groups of Ecuador to help them stand against oil and timber tycoons, DiCaprio has announced a donation of $1 million to ocean conservation efforts in the small African nation of Seychelles. DiCaprio has long been an advocate for environmental efforts, and has consistently used his influential media platform as means to call attention to injustices and demand for change; while many other important media figures have touted this same message, DiCaprio sets himself apart through his actions, consistently donating millions to research and conservation projects.
His foundation’s generous allowance to Seychelles constitutes as the world’s first debt swap that specifically targets climate resiliency and ocean conservation. The Nature Conservancy, an organization that works to conserve oceans and lands around the world, and DiCaprio’s foundation are working together to tackle conservation efforts and research in Seychelles. The deal is intended to protect more than 400,000 square kilometers of habitat, effectively increasing the Nature Conservancy’s protective reach from less than 1 percent to more than 30 percent. The funding will also go towards the creation of the second largest marine protected area in the West Indian Ocean.
The total amount of debt to be restructured is $21.4 million, according to the Seychelles government. A low interest loan, in combination with donations from private organizations such as the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation, has allowed for the country to commit to protecting its waters. Given that its economy is a “blue economy” centered around ocean-based tourism and lucrative fisheries, as well as the beauty of its coral reefs and beaches, the government is determined to help protect the future of the ocean.
Nature Conservancy’s director Matt Brown stated that the Seychellois government is committed to protecting and properly managing its marine resources in upcoming years, serving as an important model for similar agreements in other regions of the world. The culminated effort between the government, environmental organizations, and funds from private donors has created enough financial clout to sustain conservation efforts throughout this region.
“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.”
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