Leonardo DiCaprio made the climate change fight the centerpiece of his acceptance speech upon winning the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in “The Revenant.” Athletes around the world took to Twitter to congratulate DiCaprio for his first win in six tries. Some mentioned the climate change speech. Will an ESPY-winning athlete follow suit with a climate change acceptance speech on July 13? Stay tuned.
“Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species.”
So said Leonardo DiCaprio in his acceptance speech after winning the Oscar for Best Actor for “The Revenant” at last night’s Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
While final Nielsen TV audience numbers have yet to come in, the early projection is that 34 million Americans watched the show on ABC, easily making it the most watched non-sports TV program of the year. So Leo (yes, we’re on a first name basis^) had a loud megaphone, and he used it to talk substantively, if briefly, about climate change.
It says here that Leo’s Oscar climate change speech was both fantastic and much needed, especially in the US, where the issue isn’t gaining enough attention in the 2016 Presidential campaign and in the general zeitgeist. Attention is a necessary precursor to the political action that is needed NOW to help reverse the carbon train wreck we’re heading towards.
I was happy to see that several athletes went on Twitter to voice their support for Leo. Some, like former world #1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki and Orlando City and former Brazilian international soccer player Kaká, did not mention the climate change aspect of his speech in their tweets…
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) February 29, 2016
— Kaka (@KAKA) February 29, 2016
Yet, for others, climate change was front and center in their tweets, including British Olympic Rowing Gold Medalist Helen Glover…
— Helen Glover (@Helenglovergb) February 29, 2016
and #46 ranked tennis player Varvara Lepchenko (from Uzbekistan, now living in USA)…
The best speech from the whole night Leonardo Dicaprio well-deserved!!! #oscars2016
— Varvara Lepchenko (@Varunchik1) February 29, 2016
And then there was eco-race car driver Leilani Münter–the blurb below her Twitter photo describes her this way: never underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a race car. i like wind, solar, scuba & going 200 mph. discovery’s #1 eco athlete. my tesla runs on sunshine.
I love Münter’s tweet quoting another excerpt from Leo’s speech…
"Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted." Boom. Drops the mic. Congrats Leo! #ClimateChangeChampion
— Leilani Münter (@LeilaniMunter) February 29, 2016
As well as this one, which also mentions Best Supporting Actor nominee and leading anti-fracking activist Mark Ruffalo (for Best Picture winner “Spotlight”)…
— Leilani Münter (@LeilaniMunter) February 28, 2016
Looking ahead, the ESPY’s, sports’ lower rated (7.7 million viewers in 2015) but equally navel-gazing version of the Oscars, take place in July. Will an ESPY winner talk about climate change in his/her acceptance speech? Doubtful. While the ranks of eco-athletes are growing, that number is still quite small. And none of the most likely potential winners at this time (Novak Djokovic, Von Miller, Steph Curry, Serena Williams, etc.) are known eco-athletes.
Upsets are, of course, an integral part of sports. But, if an eco-athlete gives his/her version of Leo’s speech, I certainly will not be upset.