Leonardo DiCaprio group gives $3M to Australia wildfire relief

Leonardo DiCaprio group gives $3M to Australia wildfire relief
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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance organization on Thursday announced that they plan to donate $3 million to assist wildfire relief efforts in Australia.

The wildfires have scorched more than 15 million acres in the nation so far and have burned down more than 2,000 homes while continuing to cause damage.

The University of Sydney estimates that more than a billion animals have been killed in the fires.

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The money donated by DiCaprio's organization will go to local Australian partner organizations including Aussie Ark, Bush Heritage and Wires Wildlife Rescue.

A number of experts have pointed to the fast-growing wildfires as a result of climate change.

"What we're seeing are the effects of climate change,” said professor Chris Dickman of the University of Sydney in an NPR interview. "Sometimes, it's said that Australia is the canary in the coal mine with the effects of climate change being seen here most severely and earliest. ... We're probably looking at what climate change may look like for other parts of the world in the first stages in Australia at the moment.”

DiCaprio, who has taken an interest and spoken publicly about addressing climate change, serves as Earth Alliance's co-chairman along with philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth.

They launched the organization last year to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.

In 2016, DiCaprio produced a documentary film, titled “Before the Flood,” that explores the damages climate change can cause and potential remedies.

Other celebrities, such as the members of Metallica, Elton John, Kacey Musgraves and Lizzo have donated to Australian bushfire relief.