Leonardo DiCaprio’s new environmental fund pledges $5 million in aid amid Amazon fires

Neri dos Santos Silva, center, watches an encroaching fire threat after digging trenches to...
Neri dos Santos Silva, center, watches an encroaching fire threat after digging trenches to keep the flames from spreading to the farm he works on, in the Nova Santa Helena municipality, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Under increasing international pressure to contain fires sweeping parts of the Amazon, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday authorized use of the military to battle the massive blazes. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)(Leo Correa | Associated Press)
Updated: Aug. 26, 2019 at 7:28 AM EDT
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(WAFB) - An environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio has committed $5 million to help preserve the Amazon rainforest after a recent surge in wildfires.

After launching Sunday, Aug. 25, Earth Alliance’s Emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in efforts to protect sensitive habitats within the Amazon.

“#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 on Sunday.

The funds will be donated to 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).

According to the fund’s website, more than 72,000 fires have been reported by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) — a stark increase from last year’s 40,000 fires.

“The largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution,” DiCaprio said in an Instagram post. “Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check.”

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) merged with Earth Alliance last month to “help address the urgent threats to our planet’s life support systems.” DiCaprio has been vocal about his stance on the climate crisis for years.

“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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