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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called out Leonardo DiCaprio’s recent tweet about deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, telling the actor and climate activist, “give up your yacht before lecturing the world.”
DiCaprio posed the question to his 19.6 million Twitter followers: “How extensive is deforestation in Amazonia, one of the most important places on the planet for people & wildlife?
“According to this map from @mapbiomas, the region has faced an onslaught of illegal deforestation at the hands of extractive industry over the last 3 years,” DiCaprio wrote, sharing a graphic from Brazilian deforestation data collection company MapBiomas showing an increase from January 2019-2022.
“You again, Leo?” Bolsonaro, who has 8.4 million Twitter followers, wrote in response to DiCaprio’s tweet. “This way, you will become my best electoral cable, as we say in Brazil! I could tell you, again, to give up your yacht before lecturing the world, but I know progressives: you want to change the entire world but never yourselves, so I will let you off the hook.”
DiCaprio was designated the United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate Change in 2014 and reportedly also sits on the board of several environmental organizations, including WWF, the Natural Resources Defense Council, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Pristine Seas and Oceans 5.
Yet, the actor and activist was recently photographed partying with A-lister friends, including Toby McGuire, on a luxury yacht in St. Tropez through the French Riviera, according to Page Six.
The Associated Press reported last week about a new study from the Brazilian think tank Igarapé Institute that found environmental criminals in the Brazilian Amazon destroyed public rainforests equal the size of El Salvador over the past six years, yet the Federal Police — the Brazilian version of the FBI — carried out only seven operations aimed at this massive loss.
It analyzed 302 environmental crime raids carried out by the Federal Police in the Amazon between 2016 and 2021. Only 2% targeted people illegally seizing undesignated public lands.
The destruction took place in state and federal forests that are “unallocated,” meaning they do not have a designated use the way national parks and Indigenous territories do.
According to official data, the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has about 224,000 square miles of forests in this category, or an area almost the size of Ukraine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.