Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio visited an Indian village last week for a first-hand look at the impact of climate changes affecting poor farmers and residents.

The renowned climate activist held extensive discussions with experts and local townsfolk about the links between poverty and climate change, as well as promoted renewable energy sources in the area.

DiCaprio, who visited New Delhi and then proceeded to Kheladi village in Mewat, Haryana, also attended a conference with Delhi-based organization Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) delving on climate change’s effects.

In Haryana the, "Titanic" and "Wolf of Wall Street" star and Oscar Best Actor multi nominee made a documentary with Sunita Narain, CSE general director and environmentalist.

“We wanted Leonardo to see the impact of unseasonal weather on farmers of our country," said a CSE statement which recounted how DiCaprio saw acres of active farmland in Kheladi village that were submerged in water due to extreme mid-September rain.

Farmers were uncertain if it was already due to climate change – but told DiCaprio that their half-a-century experience in farming told them “there was something new and catastrophic afoot,” added the statement.

The conference discussed with DiCaprio a number of climate issues. The “immersion” revealed to the Hollywood actor how women cooked food traditionally using cow dung, even in households with LPG connections as a cheap alternative.

“We discussed the issues of energy poverty and how renewable energy could be the way ahead,” added Narain, citing it can only be done if there is funding for such sound transition.

CSE particularly riled against the “unsustainable” American consumption model leading to increased energy demand.

"If the U.S. did not make serious changes to its conspicuous consumption, climate change mitigation efforts would not be as successful as the U,S. needed to lead the way,” Narain argued, deeming the country the highest emitter globally.

According to Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general at CSE, the per-capita emission of the U.S. per year would be 12 tons while the European Union’s would be five by 2030. “Americans need to scale down their lifestyles,” Bhushan warned.

He added that in 2030, a mere 15 percent of the U.S.’s energy will come from renewable sources. He called it very small and believed it does not reflect a serious commitment to cut down the country’s emissions.

It is estimated than over 40,000 individuals will attend the Paris climate change conference, called the Conference of Parties (CoP21), from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. The summit will be a crucial decision-making forum for climate change mitigation and committing to greenhouse gas emissions reductions worldwide.

Photo: Meena Kadri | Flickr

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