Leonardo DiCaprio Is On A Green Mission

Leonardo DiCaprio is not only a Hollywood A-lister, he is also a passionate crusader for the environment.

He is the star power behind a new documentary, "The 11th Hour." The film informs but also warns of ecological disaster when humanity is on a crash course with nature.

From hurricanes to record rainfall, global warming to species extinction, producer and narrator DiCaprio explores the precarious state of the earth's ecosystems. He chose the title to convey a sense of urgency.

"This is last moment where we can implement a lot of these changes as far as green technology is concerned," he told The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen. "And this film deals with the fact it's up to our generation."

Determined to continue the environmental wake-up call ignited by Al Gore, DiCaprio searched out experts from around the world, including Kenny Ausubel who founded the group Bioneers. Their message is clear and foreboding: the time to go green is now.

Photos: "The 11th Hour"
"Hurricane Katrina was the first urban extinction," Ausubel said. "This is just the beginning of a trend: masses of ecological refugees, mega droughts, mega floods — extremes of all sorts."

So Oscar-nominee DiCaprio has decided to take personal action and make changes in the way he lives his life.

"I try to live a green lifestyle, quote unquote," he said. "I've done the things I can do in my house to make it green — energy efficient appliances, I drive a hybrid car, I have solar panels."

DiCaprio's passion, he says, comes from watching documentaries about the environment as a child and then later visiting places like the Brazilian rainforest.

Photos: The Greening of Hollywood
"And then learning more and more about human impact and they way we're treating our planet and wanting to do something about it," he said.

DiCaprio began campaigning for environmental causes shortly after "Titanic" made him one of the most popular stars on the planet a decade ago.

"Time does fly by pretty fast," he said. "It doesn't seem that long ago."

And after 10 years of waiting, fans will finally get to see DiCaprio and his co-star, Kate Winslet, reunite on the big screen. Their new film, "Revolutionary Road" will debut in 2008.

"It's set in the 1950s and it's about a couple in suburbia and dealing with moving from the big city to a suburban lifestyle, and the effects it has on their family and the loss of the dreams and aspirations of what they wanted to do with their life as they're living in a conformed environment," DiCaprio said. "It's a real sort of actor's piece and I was really happy to do it with Kate again, who is one of my dear friends, and such a great actress with her husband, Sam Mendes, as director."

With four films in the works, DiCaprio remains one of Hollywood's busiest actors. But he also finds time for a rather unusual hobby. He was actually in a bidding war for a dinosaur skull.

"I suppose my liking natural history and things of that nature," he said. "That's part of the reason I became an environmentalist. (I'm) sort of a nut about different species and the variety of life that we have — have on this planet, and evolution and all of those things. I didn't get it, anyway."

In addition, DiCaprio has turned his official Web site into an ecosite. Along with news about his latest films, are updates about the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation. To get more information on how you can make a difference on environmental issues, visit LeonardoDiCaprio.org.

  • Caitlin Johnson

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