Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental group pledges $5M to Amazon rainforest

The Amazon, the largest rainforest in the world, roughly half the size of the United States, is key to the health of the entire planet. Its trees produce an estimated 20% of the world's oxygen, while putting an enormous amount of water into the atmosphere at a time when cities are drying up.

LOS ANGELES — Earth Alliance, a new environmental organization created by Leonardo DiCaprio and his philanthropic friends Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth, has pledged $5 million to help preserve the Amazon rainforest.

Fires have surged in the Amazon this year — the world’s largest rainforest is burning at its highest rate since 2013 — and Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research says more than one-and-a-half soccer fields of Amazon rainforest are being destroyed every minute of every day.

The Amazon, which produces about 20% of earth’s oxygen, is often referred to as “the planet’s lungs.” It is considered vital in slowing global warming.

“#EarthAlliance has formed an emergency Amazon Forest Fund with $5m to focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires,” the organization Tweeted Sunday.

Earth Alliance announced that its emergency fund will be dispersed between five local organizations that are “combating the fires, protecting indigenous lands, and providing relief to the communities impacted.” They are: Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida (Kayapo), Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), Instituto Kabu (Kayapo), Instituto Raoni (Kayapo) and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) merged with Earth Alliance last month to “help address the urgent threats to our planet’s life support systems.” This partnership builds on DiCaprio’s years of activism on the climate crisis.

“Since its founding in 1998, LDF has provided more than $100 million in grants to projects in all five oceans and across all seven continents,” a July press release said.

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