About 36 million people were glued to their screens when the Academy Awards witnessed Leonardo DiCaprio grabbing his first Oscar. He won in the Best Actor category for his critically acclaimed portrayal in The Revenant. DiCAprio is one of the most high-profile activists for climate change in the entertainment industry.

It was no wonder the star used one of the most memorable moments of his life (for almost three minutes) to share his views about the increasing impact of climate change.  During his profound speech, DiCaprio narrated how the filming of the movie was affected by climate change, to a mesmerized audience. He revealed that the production team needed to move to the southern tip of the planet in an attempt to find snow.

He also urged the political leaders to put an end to their procrastination and work on implementing tangible solutions for regulating policies on climate change. Leonardo DiCaprio was globally praised for his efforts and using the platform to put his message across millions of people. Even the Internet was much influenced by his speech. Google and Twitter users all over the world searched for information related to climate change after the actor’s speech and made history.

Studies reported Google searches for climate change increased within the first hour of his acceptance speech, searches for ‘climate change’ rose up to 261%. This increase stayed high for several days following the Academy Awards. Users also searched for ‘global warming’ with the term being extensively searched with a 210% increase the day of his speech. There were 320,680 Google searches for either ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ in total, after the big night.

DiCaprio’s speech also caused 3.2 times as much Twitter engagement as the conference that concluded with the world’s first international climate change agreement, the Paris Agreement, in December and 5.3 times as much as Earth Day. The number of tweets containing the phrases ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ on the day of DiCaprio’s speech exceeded beyond the 250,000 mark on the day of his speech.

Studies also noted that celebrity viewpoints reach far more people than conventional media strategies or marketing campaigns. The speech by DiCaprio on climate change demonstrates that propagation of ideas can occur outside the context of a campaign and is capable of generating interaction even in the absence of planned events.

These findings also reflect on how conventional media is evolving with time and can be used to influence awareness for a cause or an issue with the help of social media. Such revolutionized media outlets appear to deliver a deeper impact than is derived from traditional communication and marketing strategies.

Even though individuals alone can do little to affect global change, people acting collectively can influence businesses to do so. Leonardo DiCaprio’s honest opinion about the subject shows that every individual can play a unique role for becoming socially responsible citizens. Our everyday decisions comprise of our conscious choices. Be it how we consume power or the products we spend our money on, all these choices are indirectly making an impact on climate change.

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