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A Letter from Leonardo DiCaprio
 
Dear Friends,
 
Like you, the daily deluge of bad environmental news gets me down. But as I reflect on the work my foundation has done with so many amazing partners worldwide in 2018, I am both inspired and filled with optimism for 2019.
 
Did you know that California just passed a law to get 100% of its energy from clean renewable sources by 2045? Or that the African nation of Malawi created a new reserve for endangered giraffes? And how great is it that two Native American women were elected to Congress?
 
But let’s not kid ourselves – much work remains. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have hit levels not seen in millennia and six plant or animal species disappear from the Earth every hour - - a thousand times the natural rate of extinction.
 
So what can we do to create a just and sustainable world for current and future generations — indeed for all living things? If 2018 has taught us anything about the answer to that question, it is that the power of civic engagement may be more important now than ever before. By learning about the issues that matter to each of us, and lifting our voices to advocate on their behalf, each of us becomes part of the solution.
 
Voting provides a powerful opportunity to transform our world, which is why it’s important to protect and ensure voting rights for all. Everyone has the right to vote for candidates who believe in the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change and who are committed to take action before it’s too late. For candidates who value clean air over a few more dollars in their campaign coffers. And, when they are elected and in office, we should hold them accountable.
 
Let’s make 2019 the year we engage everyone in the fight for a healthy, sustainable future and leave no one behind in enjoying the benefits of a world with abundant biodiversity and communities we can all be proud to live in.
 
I’m inspired to know - - as I hope you are - - that we are not alone in setting our sights higher and higher.
 


Best,
Leo
 

LDF's 2018 Highlights 

Below is just a sampling of the impact LDF has been able to create this year, thanks to the support of our generous donors.

   LDF hosted a #SaveLACougars leadership gathering in October, where we announced our continuing support for the campaign, led by LDF partner the National Wildlife Federation. With new funding committed at the event, including a matching grant from the Annenberg Foundation, blueprints will be finalized for a wildlife crossing in the Santa Monica Mountains.
 
   In partnership with the Government of Fiji, LDF launched the Fiji Rural Electrification Fund this year, setting up the first installation of a solar and battery minigrid at Vio Village. The Fund has since secured additional funding for four more sites to be executed in early 2019.

   The LDF-supported Iberá Program, a plan by the Conservation Land Trust (CLT) to rewild the Iberá wetlands ecosystem, had key successes in 2018. In June, two jaguar cubs were born in Iberá – the first in decades in the region. Two tapirs, South America’s largest herbivore, have also been born after 50 years of absence. Self-sustainable populations of collared peccaries, pampas deer, giant anteaters, and green-winged macaws have also been established.
   In the past year, LDF grantee Carbon Cycle Institute completed 36 carbon farm plans, encompassing approximately 35,000 acres across the state, with a total estimated potential to sequester 550,000 metric tons of carbon over the next 20 years if implemented.
 
   LDF grantees published four new studies on forests and fire in science journals. These studies help refute erroneous claims that the Forest Service uses in an effort to promote more logging.
   In September, LDF partners Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association (PCFFA), the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR), and Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) won a landmark case requiring counties to protect rivers, along with their habitat and species, from over-pumping at wells adjacent to rivers. The California Appellate Court’s unanimous decision sets a precedent by extending public trust protections to interconnected groundwater and requiring the adoption of these protections right away. 

   LDF initiated and co-hosted The Water Pavilion at Governor Brown’s Climate Action Summit in September, highlighting the significance of water to the climate community and hoping to catalyze actions toward resilience through connection, science, investment, policy and social change. Photo courtesy of Mark Franco.
   LDF grantee Indigenous Climate Action continued to grow their network of indigenous climate leaders, hosting 11 workshops in Indigenous communities this year including Grassroots Grow Deep, a knowledge-sharing and skill-building event for grassroots indigenous solutions.

   The Pine Ridge Girl’s School, an LDF grantee, hosted two Reservation-wide Science Fairs, stressing the meaning and importance of clean water in daily lives. Lakota students at Pine Ridge have a curriculum that includes the study of contemporary indigenous issues; for instance, they study the pillars of financing that underlie harmful projects like oil pipelines. Photo courtesy of Anpo Wicahpi.

   The LDF-supported Shark Conservation Fund helped launch a scientific expedition between the Galapagos and Cocos Island Marine Parks to quantify the distribution, abundance, and diversity of marine predators throughout the migratory corridor. The data will be used to support the creation of the Galapagos-Cocos Transboundary Swimway, the first of its kind in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, and one of the first in the world.
Your generosity supports LDF in our mission to protect the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants. Thank you for being our partner in this important work. Happy Holidays!
 
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Copyright © 2018 Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, All rights reserved.


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