Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscars 2016 Speech on Climate Change Turned My Life Upside Down

(Leo is on stage for a 2017 Oscars segment so I wanted to hit publish)

All my life I’ve been hearing about reduce, reuse, recycle. I’ve been hearing about droughts and hurricanes on the news. I’ve been hearing about climate change and how important it was.

I was under the impression that the scientists and the governments of the world had this climate change thing pret-ty well taken care of. So I didn’t pay much attention to it.

Until last year when an actor named Leonardo DiCaprio, who had been trying to win an Oscar his entire career, got up on stage having finally won an Oscar.

Instead of talking about how wonderful it was to be in film, he felt so compelled to talk about his personal experiences witnessing the ravages of climate change as they were taking place in Patagonia, because they could not find snow to do their filming.

An actor got up and started talking about climate change. And that got me wondering.

I thought that this was taken care of. I thought we were going to be fine. And I realized maybe I hadn’t been paying enough attention. Maybe the scientists and the governments who I thought had a handle on this, well maybe they didn’t have a handle on it, maybe they needed help. I myself would wake up every day and work on biotechnology projects to enable other scientists. Maybe somehow I wasn’t clued in to what was going on.

So I looked into it, and now we’re here a year later. I have been so compelled by what I’ve found that I quit my job and started a company whose sole purpose is to enable other companies who have climate changing technologies that help halt climate change or help reverse climate change. My entire purpose is to help those companies get adopted at a massive scale so we can get to the place where we need to be.

So there’s this doom and gloom about climate change. That’s ok, but that’s not going to solve the problem. What is going to solve the problem is coming at this from an entrepreneurial, an innovative, and a business-minded, profit-centered point of view. Let’s enhance the scientific leadership, extend the government’s efforts, and cut a new path.

We need to be motivated to solve this thing instead of spanked into using less water, spanked into reducing our carbon footprints and driving less. The reality is people just aren’t going to do that. Humans don’t work that way.

So what can you do? You can prove out better solutions through technology. Solutions that are not only better options for individuals, but are better options for the planet – carbon neutral or carbon reversing because they’re easier, they’re better, they’re faster.

In the past year, I’ve talked with hundreds of people, leading technologists, economists, scientists and thinkers. I’m part of a team working on bringing new technologies to light, and have identified 4 key areas for climate change solutions: food, air, energy, and water. We’ve worked with one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies, aerospace companies, automotive companies, and connected with dozens of innovation labs and startups in Silicon Valley. Watch me.

If this interests you, please email me immediately with subject “Oscars 2016” to tito@impossiblelabs.io. Blank email is fine, or your thoughts.

(this post: many thanks to Dan Walsh who method-acted this whole post, Matt Inouye who provided structure, and Shova Ale Magar for listening and asking questions. And thanks to Jeff Mori for wanting to watch the 2016 Oscars, and Matt Walters for telling me I should write more)

How My Friend Achieved His Lifelong Dream

This summer I hiked 220 miles over 23 nights on the John Muir Trail. It runs all the way from Yosemite National Park to Mount Whitney near LA. 23 days out in the middle of nowhere.

It was my friend Matt’s dream. He’s a hiker, he’s a backpacker, he’s an Eagle Scout. He sells hiking gear online. He sells boots and backpacks and tents and sleeping bags. And he told me “Tito, my dream is to hike the John Muir Trail. I’ve thought about it for years. I want to make it happen before I go off to school. Before I start a family. Before I start a business. Before I buy a house. I want to make this dream happen now.”

Hiking the John Muir Trail is a big dream. I’ve talked to a lot of people who say “I’m planning to go, once I graduate”, or “That’s on my bucket list, once I retire”. People really want to hike this trail.

But it was never my dream. At all. I had no interest in hiking, hiking gear, spending lots of money to be out in a bunch of trees and dirt. Even spending a weekend outdoors sounds kind of boring.

But I said “yes”. And everything changed.

You know, hiking isn’t boring. On the first day, we’re hitting our first mountain, and we’re climbing up, and lightning is flashing in the background. Matt tells me that “the top of a mountain is the most dangerous place during a lightning storm”. And as we get to the top, I look around for the first time and there’s 3 fires caused by the lightning that are burning up the forest around us. After all the worry with the lightning, it doesn’t even matter! We take a bunch of photos, head down the mountain away from the fires.

I’m not some amazing hiker now. It’s not my true passion. What changed was my perception of how to accomplish my own dreams.

I’ve learned that 60% of American adults have some big amazing dream that they’re thinking about, and they don’t know why they’re not making progress on their dream. They have it clearly defined in their head. They’ve got a plan. But they’re not getting there and they don’t know why. That’s how I felt about my own dreams, about my own sense of accomplishment. How good could I be if I can’t make progress on my dreams?

What I’ve learned is that by helping my friend with his dream, I discovered my own sense of accomplishment, my sense of self, my sense of confidence. I’m even thinking of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a 6 month hike. 6 months, that’s an incredible change for a guy who had no interest in the outdoors.

So help a friend of yours with their dream.

It’s easy. You pull out your iPhone, pull up your Favorites list, and you call the person at the bottom of the list. You say “Hey, what have you always dreamed of doing, but you’ve never done?”.

Maybe it’s a hike. Maybe it’s meeting Taylor Swift. Maybe it’s spending a month in Hong Kong, Paris, or Cairo. You can make a plan and and make it happen in the next year.

And after that year, your friend will have accomplished their dream, and you’ll have this massive self confidence in your abilities, and surprise that your dreams can change. That you can help other people achieve their dreams means you can help yourself accomplish your dreams. So call up your friend and ask them “What have you always dreamed of doing, but you’ve never done?”