The actor, who has spent years working to protect the environment through his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, posted two shots on Instagram Friday documenting his meeting with the Swedish teenager who has captivated the world with her mission.
And DiCaprio, 44, counts himself amongst the 16-year-old’s most ardent admirers.
“There are few times in human history where voices are amplified at such pivotal moments and in such transformational ways – but @GretaThunberg has become a leader of our time. History will judge us for what we do today to help guarantee that future generations can enjoy the same livable planet that we have so clearly taken for granted,” DiCaprio wrote.
“I hope that Greta’s message is a wake-up call to world leaders everywhere that the time for inaction is over. It is because of Greta, and young activists everywhere that I am optimistic about what the future holds. It was an honor to spend time with Greta. She and I have made a commitment to support one another, in hopes of securing a brighter future for our planet,” his post read.
Since her solo school-day strike outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018 went viral, Thunberg’s activism has taken on a life of its own, inspiring hundreds of similar climate strikes around the world as part of the Fridays for Future campaign.
She’s also become a household name as the face of a movement she began at age 8 after hearing about climate change and global warming for the first time.
“I don’t like being the center of attention,” she told CNN in September. “I don’t want to be heard all the time, but if there is anything I can do to improve the situation then I think it’s a very small price to pay.”
Despite her reluctance, Thunberg, who has Asperger’s and has said her select mutism means she only speaks when she finds it “necessary,” has captured the attention of the world thanks to earnest and passionate speeches at events like the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Climate Action Summit.
“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” she told world leaders at the summit last month. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”