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It’s been a busy week for Leonardo DiCaprio so far, with the launch of Animal Action Week and a whole bunch of political statements.

Monday saw the star kick off the International Fund For Animal Welfare's (IFAW) Animal Action Week, one of the world’s largest environmental education programs. This year’s theme, “Beneath the Waves,” highlights the challenges the world faces to protect the ocean and marine wildlife from the impact of human activities and will reach six million young people in 18 countries.

“The world’s ocean and marine wildlife are one of our Earth’s most valuable treasures, yet today they face more threats than ever before,” said DiCaprio, an Honorary IFAW Board Member. “It’s our responsibility to protect this vital ecosystem and the animals that live there if we want to leave a better world for future generations.”

As part of the initiative, IFAW is encouraging teachers and children across the globe to engage with nature by offering a free education pack and 15-minute film about protecting wildlife in the oceans. The curriculum-based materials are available in two versions, one for elementary students (Grades 3-4) and one for middle school (Grades 5-9).

“Together we can set an example for the rest of the world in protecting the ocean and marine wildlife,” said DiCaprio. “Our individual actions and the lifestyle choices we make really matter. The hope is you.”

DiCaprio’s involvement follows his appearance at Barack Obama's fundraiser headlined by Barbra Streisand and Ben Harper in Beverly Hills on Tuesday.

DiCaprio used the occasion to urge senators Obama and John McCain to push for increased use of wind power and solar energy – regardless of who wins the race to the White House next month – and pledge an end to America’s dependence on foreign oil.

“The most critical thing for the new administration is to implement an environmental policy that automatically integrates environmental issues we’re all concerned about in our everyday lives,” said the actor, whose 11th Hour documentary highlighted the need to step up environmental procedures around the world. “It’s a moral issue and a patriotic issue, really. We need the government to be at the forefront of this. We need to invest in renewable technologies. As much as people are stressing drilling at this point in time, we’re 10 years away from seeing any of that. We have the technology here. It’s readily available. Wind and solar power can make a big difference. That is my message. It’s in our hands.”

More information about Animal Action Week can be found at www.ifaw.org.

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