During a session on Earth Day to commemorate the signing of the “Paris Agreement” -- in which 175 countries agreed to do more to combat climate change -- Leonardo DiCaprio, the United Nations' official messenger of peace, told the delegates: “You re the last, best hope of earth. We ask you to protect it, or all living things we cherish are history.”
“Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground, where they belong,” he also asserted on Friday. “You know that climate change is happening faster than even the most pessimistic of scientists warned us decades ago, and it's become a runaway freight train bringing with it an impending disaster for all living things.”
DiCaprio began his remarks by stating he has “traveled all over the world for the last two years documenting how this crisis is changing the natural balance of our planet.”
The actor continued:
I've seen cities like Beijing choked by industrial pollution, ancient ... forests in Canada that have been clear cut and rain forests in Indonesia that have been incinerated. In India, I met farmers whose crops have been literally washed away by historic flooding.
In America, I have witnessed unprecedented droughts in California and sea-level rise flooding the streets of Miami, In Greenland and in the Arctic, I was astonished to see that ancient glaciers are rapidly disappearing well ahead of scientific predictions.
“All that I've seen and learned on my journey has absolutely terrified me,” he noted.
“There is no doubt in the world's scientific community that this is a direct result of human activity,” DiCaprio asserted, “and the effects of climate change will become astronomically worse in the future.”
“You know what will happen if this scourge is left unchecked,” he stated. “You know that climate change is happening faster than even the most pessimistic of scientists warned us decades ago, and it's become a runaway freight train bringing with it an impending disaster for all living things.”
The climate change activist then approached the situation from an emotional perspective.
“Now think about the shame that each of us will carry when our children and grandchildren look back and realize we had the means of stopping this devastation but simply lacked the political will to do so,” he noted.
“Yes, we have achieved the Paris Agreement,” DiCaprio stated. “More countries have come together here to sign this agreement today than for any other cause in the history of humankind, and that is reason for hope.”
“But unfortunately, the evidence shows us that will not be enough,” he continued. “Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground, where they belong.”
The actor continued: “An upheaval, a massive change is required right now, one that leads to a new collective consciousness, a new collective evolution of the human race, inspired and enabled by a sense of urgency from all of you."
“We all know that reversing the course of climate change will not be easy, but the tools are in our hands if we apply them before it is too late,” he stated.
DiCaprio then noted that such trends as the increasing use of renewable energy and putting a price on carbon pollution “are beginning to turn the tide. This transition is not only the right thing for our world, but it also makes clear economic sense and is possible within our lifetime.”
“We can congratulate each other today, but it will mean absolutely nothing if you return to your countries and fail to push beyond the promises of this historic agreement,” he added. “Now is the time for bold, unprecedented action.”
Referring to the delegates in the chamber, the actor stated: “It is time to ask each other which side of history will you be on? As a citizen of our planet who has witnessed so much on this journey, I thank you all for everything you've done to lay the foundation of a solution to this crisis.”
He then claimed:
[A]fter 21 years of debates and conferences, it is time to declare: No more talk, no more excuses, no more 10-year studies, no more allowing the fossil fuel companies to manipulate and dictate the science and policies that affect our future.
This is the body that can do what is needed. All of you sitting in this very hall, the world will be watching. You will either be lauded by future generations or vilified by them.
Of course, the "climate change crisis" might be lessened if such activists as former Vice President Al Gore and Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio spent less time and generated less carbon emissions traveling around the world while trying to frighten us into submission.