Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation gives $20M to environmental causes

Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation dedicated to protecting the Earth has given more than $20 million this year in grants to more than 100 organizations around the world, the actor announced Tuesday.

"The Revenant" star announced the grants ahead of his appearance at a climate change conference at Yale University, hosted by former Secretary of State John Kerry. He planned to use the appearance to urge more immediate steps to reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources.

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Since 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has given $80 million in grants.

About $3.6 million of the grants will be given to community organizations in the U.S. fighting for 100 percent renewable energy and money for mitigating climate change through mangrove replanting in Somalia.

The foundation also granted about $6.4 million for wildlife and land preservation projects. The work includes lion and elephant restoration and protection.

Other recipients include California Waterkeepers, a group that helps protect the state's coastal waters, and Ocean 5, which establishes marine reserves and combats illegal fishing in the world's oceans.

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In a speech at the Yale event, the Oscar-winning actor urged people to vote for candidates who take climate change seriously. He also asked the crowd to support companies that sell eco-friendly products, Variety reported.

“What all politicians in every nation on earth need to know is this: we have the technology to meet 100 percent of our energy needs from clean, renewable, cost-effective sources that are available right now,” DiCaprio said. “What is missing in some countries is government policies that set bold goals and more leadership from the private sector, to reach out and grab hold of this tremendous opportunity, to be the drivers of innovation – to invest in these clean jobs and understand the economic potential for the future.”

Despite the new grants, DiCaprio has faced criticism for not being as green as he claims. Last year the actor reportedly took a private jet 8,000 miles in order to collect an environmental award from Cannes to New York and then back to France. That flight emitted 55 tons of carbon dioxide. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.