In the Trump era, the DiCaprio Foundation is stepping up its climate efforts. Big time.
Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

With seemingly no one in the White House steering the U.S. into an environmentally sustainable future, who's going to take the wheel?

Leonardo DiCaprio has an idea who.

Speaking at Yale University on Sept. 19, the actor and activist announced his foundation is giving a whopping $20 million in grants to over 100 eco-groups dedicated to fighting climate change, protecting indigenous rights, and wildlife conservation efforts, among other issues.

It's the largest portfolio of environmental grants ever given by the DiCaprio Foundation, according to the group, which chose to unveil the figure at John Kerry's Kerry Initiative climate change conference.





"These grantees are active on the ground, protecting our oceans, forests, and endangered species for future generations — and tackling the urgent, existential challenges of climate change," DiCaprio said.

Thank you John Kerry for hosting today's #YaleClimateConference. We must all work together to combat #climatechange....


Posted by Leonardo DiCaprio on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The DiCaprio Foundation, which raises money in large part from high-profile fundraising events, didn't beat around the bush either: Washington's indifference toward crucial environmental issues is making matters worse.

While President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress weren't mentioned by name, their inaction were certainly part of the discussion.

“This round of grants comes at a critical time," explained Terry Tamminen, the foundation's CEO. "With a lack of political leadership and continued evidence that climate change is growing worse with record-breaking heatwaves and storms, we believe we need to do as much as we can now, before it is too late.”

DiCaprio has spoken out against Trump's dismissal of climate change before.

In June, shortly after the president announced plans for the U.S. to leave the Paris climate accord — a global agreement between nearly every nation to drastically slash carbon emissions — DiCaprio slammed the unpopular move, calling it a "careless decision."

“Our future on this planet is now more at risk than ever before," he wrote in a statement. "For Americans and those in the world community looking for strong leadership on climate issues, this action is deeply discouraging."

Leonardo DiCaprio Schools Trump on Climate Change

As Donald Trump––aka our Climate Denier in Chief––prepares to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Leonardo DiCaprio reminds us why that would be so fucked up:

Posted by Fusion on Wednesday, May 31, 2017

With help from groups like DiCaprio's, however, Americans are stepping up to the plate — with or without their president.

The U.S. might meet its carbon reduction goals outlined in the Paris agreement despite Trump's lack of support.

An initiative led by Michael Bloomberg, for example, has united dozens of mayors, governors, businesses, and universities in remaining committed to the Obama administration's Paris pledge to slash America's carbon output by 26% from its 2005 levels by the year 2025.

It could, in a sense, nullify any formal withdrawal from the accord.

“The bulk of the decisions which drive U.S. climate action in the aggregate are made by cities, states, businesses, and civil society,” Bloomberg wrote in a letter to Antonio Guterres. “Collectively, these actors remain committed to the Paris accord.”

There's ways for you to get involved and stay committed too.

Consider supporting one of the many environmental groups that will receive grants from the DiCaprio Foundation or nonprofits like the Sierra Club or NRDC to make real change when it comes to climate action.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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