Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Earth Alliance environmental organization will donate $3 million to help wildfire relief efforts in Australia. The foundation said Thursday that it has started the Australia Wildfire Fund to help with an “international response to the catastrophic bushfires” currently raging in the country.
The wildfires have scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland, killed at least 25 people and destroyed 2,000 homes. The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season.
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The Academy Award-winning actor serves as Earth Alliance’s co-chair along with philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth. The organization was launched last year to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.
The fund will work with local Australian partner organizations including Aussie Ark, Bush Heritage, and Wires Wildlife Rescue.
DiCaprio joins a growing list of other celebrities that have rallied to donate big bucks. Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and Elton John each offered $1 million through social media earlier this week.
Nicole Kidman, P!nk and Keith Urban have donated as well.
Metallica said it will donate $750,000 to a firefighting agency and an emergency services agency in Victoria. Phoebe Waller-Bridge said she would auction off her Globes outfit and have the proceeds go to firefighter relief at the Golden Globes on Sunday. Actor Russell Crowe skipped the Globes because he was home in Australia protecting his family. He sent a powerful message that was read by Jennifer Aniston at the awards ceremony.
DiCaprio’s foundation donated millions to help fight the wildfires that devastated the Amazon rainforest last year. The organization said the funds would be distributed directly to local partners and the indigenous communities protecting the region, known as the “lungs of the planet.”
Earth Alliance warned at the time that destruction of the Amazon rainforest releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, diminishing an ecosystem that absorbs millions of tons of carbon emissions every year and is one of the planet’s best defenses against the climate crisis.