Opinion: Listen to Leo

Samantha Karam is a sophomore journalism major. Contact her at [email protected].

Samantha Karam

If you watched the Oscars on Sunday night or have social media of any kind, you know that Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar. I’ve waited six Academy Awards to see him bring home the gold, so when he won I was anxious to hear his acceptance speech.

“Making ‘The Revenant’ was about man’s relationship to the natural world … our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow,” DiCaprio said. “Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”

DiCaprio often speaks about the environment and global warming. I really admire him for that because, like he said Sunday night, people tend to procrastinate and not face the severity of climate change.

I’ve been an advocate for the environment for a very long time. I respect and support what Leo is doing; instead of throwing statistics at people who don’t see the issues associated with the environment, he makes it human.

Someone once told me that the most important part of a movie is a character’s “call to action.” Generally speaking, this is the point where someone faces a challenge and must do something about it. Well, Leo is taking that concept beyond the cameras. He travels the world and witnesses the horror that is climate change. This issue is not a conspiracy and he’s fighting that ignorance with his global foundation, his Instagram and his voice.  

He dedicates his social media platforms to showing us what these statistics look like and who they affect the most. He forces people to see and hear the cold — or rather, warm — hard facts many of us choose to disregard.

Sure, the annual changes in surface temperature, the rate the Arctic is melting and the speed the seas are rising are all incredibly concerning.  Sadly, however, statistics don’t get everyone to listen the way DiCaprio does.

Every time I’ve seen him accept an award, he gets on stage, as one of the most well-liked faces of Hollywood, and shows how concerned he is and how much he cares about his Earth. It’s hard to ignore a man who can embody anyone from a poor boy who falls in love with a rich girl to a corrupt, multi-millionaire stockbroker.

I’ve had plenty of debates with friends about which of Leo’s roles is the best. He’s such a dynamic actor that it’s hard to pinpoint which movie he shines the brightest in. After debating it, I’ve decided my personal favorite version of DiCaprio has become his role off-screen as an advocate for the environment.

Unlike all his other personas, he doesn’t retire from being a voice for the natural world, and I hope his words inspire people to think about where the environment is headed because nature is beautiful and I would hate for it to get any less pretty than it already has.

Samantha Karam is an opinion columnist for the Kent Stater. For more information contact her at [email protected]