Leonardo DiCaprio took his fight against climate change all the way to the Vatican on Thursday (Jan. 28), where he met with Pope Francis to discuss important environmental issues. The 41-year-old actor, who looked overjoyed to have a 15-minute private meeting at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, greeted the Pope in Italian, saying, "Your Holiness, thank you for granting me this private audience with you," before kissing his ring. He was accompanied by his father, George DiCaprio, and his foundation's global fundraising chair, Milutin Gatsby.
Their conversation quickly turned to the environment and they discussed how they can work together to address the need for action to stop the effects of climate change on the globe. The Oscar-nominated star presented the religious leader with an art book featuring works by Dutch Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. Leo showed him a reproduction of Bosch's triptych "Garden of Earthly Delights," which hung over the movie star's crib when he was an infant. The panels of the artwork depict the creation of the world with Adam and Eve, a lively landscape and hell.
"As a child I didn't quite understand what it all meant, but through my child's eyes it represented a planet, the utopia we had been given, the overpopulation, excesses, and the third panel we see a blackened sky that represents so much to me of what's going in in the environment," he told the Pope.
"I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States—and this Congress—have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature." – Pope Francis #PopeFrancis #ClimateChange #MomentForAction #PopeInUS Photo credit: Zach Gibson c/o New York Times
The environment is an important topic for both the pontiff and The Revenant star. While addressing the United Nations in September, Pope Francis said, "A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and the disadvantaged." Leo was so inspired by his speech, he shared it with his more than two million Instagram followers.