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'I Pretend for a Living, but You Do Not': Leonardo DiCaprio Speaks Bluntly at the U.N.

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Famed movie actor and recently anointed anti-Tar Sands activist Leonardo DiCaprio laid it on the line at the United Nations Climate Summit this week, just 48 hours after striding side-by-side with Indigenous Peoples from Canada for the full route of the People’s Climate March in New York City.

"As an actor, I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems,” DiCaprio told the attendees of the one-day summit convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday September 23. “I believe that mankind has looked at climate change in that same way—as if it were a fiction. As if pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away.”

He proceeded, in his short speech overviewing the extreme weather events occurring around the globe—from intensifying droughts, to ocean acidification, to methane plumes making their way up from the ocean floor, to the rapidly melting ice caps—to list the disparate quarters that the warnings are coming from.

“The scientific community knows it, industry knows it, governments know it, even the United States military knows it,” he said, citing the recent pronouncement by U.S. Navy Specific Command Admiral Samuel Locklear that climate change is the single greatest threat to national security out there.

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In other words, DiCaprio spoke truth to power by quoting the powerful themselves.

“Honored delegates, leaders of the world, I pretend for a living, but you do not,” DiCaprio concluded. “The people made their voices heard on Sunday around the world, and the momentum will not stop.”

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