At the Clinton Global Citizen Awards, Eva Longoria also honored the subjects of her upcoming ‘Food Chains’ documentary, who are dedicated to ending the exploitation of farm workers
Leonardo DiCaprio may not have nabbed any of the four Oscars for which he’s been nominated, but his work to protect the environment earned him a prestigious Clinton Global Citizen Award Sunday night.
Serving as the kickoff for the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York, the 8th annual Citizen Awards honored outstanding individuals in civil society, philanthropy, public service and the private sector who exemplify global citizenship through their vision, leadership and impact in addressing global challenges.
DiCaprio, who has focused his philanthropic efforts on protecting and preserving the planet, urged those in attendance at Sunday night’s event to work to address what he called “a real and terrifying crisis.”
“Climate change is compromising the very livability of our planet,” the actor, sporting a long, scraggly beard and long hair pulled back into a bun, said as he accepted the Clinton Global Citizen Award for philanthropy.
After explaining, “less than three percent of all philanthropic giving goes toward protecting and preserving our environment,” a statistic he called “ridiculous,” with even less going towards protecting the world’s oceans, DiCaprio urged the audience of global leaders and philanthropists, “to put environmental issues at the forefront of the human agenda.”
“Together we can find ways to scale up funding and create intelligent partnerships. By protecting our oceans and our wildlands we allow species to recover, local communities to thrive and ultimately maintain a stable climate for all life on earth,” he said.
The actor, who earlier in the day participated in the People’s Climate Change march and is set to open the UN Climate Summit, added, “the world is now at a turning point and climate change is the defining issue of our time…The task before us to protect this planet will require the largest movement in human history. It will have to cross all cultural, religious and political boundaries. But the good news is the solutions are ready and with leaders like the ones in this room who do not shrink in the face of crisis. They can rise, they can inspire and they can contribute. And that truly is the best hope of planet earth.”
DiCaprio was presented his award by World Wildlife Fund CEO Carter Roberts, who said, “Now more than ever nature needs a voice. Leonardo DiCaprio is that voice.”
Roberts praised the actor for using his platform and resources to make a difference and for working to understand the science and situation on the ground, calling the actor an eloquent, inspiring leader.
In addition to DiCaprio, several other Hollywood stars attended the event including presenter Eva Longoria, who honored the subjects of her upcoming documentary Food Chains; host Seth Meyers; music director Randy Jackson; performers Aloe Blacc, Jason Mraz and The Roots; Brian Grazer; Sting and Trudie Styler; and Idris Elba.
President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State (and potential future presidential candidate) Hillary Rodham Clinton and a very pregnant Chelsea Clinton were also there.
Indeed, Chelsea’s pregnancy and the “impending although hopefully not immediate arrival,” as she said, of the elder Clintons’ first grandchild was a recurring topic at Sunday’s event.
Meyers quickly reassured the crowd that if Chelsea went into labor during Sunday night’s event and President Clinton had to leave, “Al Gore is waiting in the wings. Ready to step in for old times’ sake.”
He also joked that the Clintons don’t care if the baby is a boy or a girl, “as long as it’s a swing voter.”
But Meyers began his monologue by poking fun at the event’s venue: the Sheraton Times Square, calling the neighborhood “a great place to have your picture and your wallet taken” and adding to the out-of-town guests, “If you’re not from New York, I’m happy to tell you that the Times Square Sheraton is this city’s finest hotel.”