Leonardo DiCaprio calls for Scotland to become 'rewilding nation'

The Rewilding Nation Charter calls on the Scottish Government to commit to nature recovery across 30% of land and sea.

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio calls for Scotland to become ‘rewilding nation’ Getty Images

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has used his platform to call upon the Scottish Government to declare the country a ‘rewilding nation’.

In a post on Instagram to his 61.1 million followers, the Killers of the Flower Moon star, who often uses the platform to highlight environmental issues across the world, shared the Scottish Rewilding Alliance’s campaign to urge the Scottish Government to commit to nature recovery.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is a coalition of more than 20 nature organisations urging the Scottish Government to declare Scotland as the first rewilding nation in an effort to boost conservation strategies.

DiCaprio wrote: “The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is urging the Scottish government to declare Scotland a Rewilding Nation, committing to nature recovery across 30% of the land and seas to benefit nature, climate, and people.

“About 6,000 years ago, most of southern Scotland was covered by broadleaf woodland, interspersed with patches of rich scrub, heath, and bog. 

“In stark contrast, the landscape today is nature-depleted hills, with highly degraded sheep-grazed areas (so called ‘sheep-wrecked’ landscapes) and blocks of non-native spruce plantations. 

“With this campaign, Scotland could be a world leader in rewilding its landscapes, ensuring clean air and water, storing carbon, reducing flooding, restoring wildlife, and improving the lives of locals.”

He urged his followers to visit the link in on his social media page to learn more about the cause.

It is not the first time DiCaprio has showed an interest in the Scottish environment, previously drawing in large crowds at Cop26 in Glasgow.

At the time, he was a UN representative on climate change and interacted with Maryhill locals at a fringe event in the Engine Works on Lochburn Road.

Last month, the Scottish Rewilding Alliance launched a Rewilding Nation Charter calling for Scotland to declare itself the world’s first rewilding nation.

The Alliance says that despite growing praise for its rewilding progress, Scotland remains one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries and the new charter says rewilding offers hope for restoring habitats and saving wildlife.

Figures recorded by the alliance suggested 2.1% of Scotland’s land was rewilding, with 150 projects covering at least 160,000 hectares.

But the environmental groups warned the project would need to be significantly scaled up to meet the 30% target.

Launching the campaign Steve Micklewright, Scottish Rewilding Alliance convenor and chief executive of Trees for Life said: “Climate breakdown and nature loss mean we face an unprecedented threat to our way of life and our children’s future. But it’s not too late. Scotland can lead the way as a Rewilding Nation to benefit nature, climate and people.”

Speaking of the actor’s support for the campaign, Richard Bunting, spokesperson for the Scottish Rewilding Alliance and Trees for Life, said:”This backing for our campaign for Scotland to declare itself the world’s first Rewilding Nation from a global superstar like Leonardo DiCaprio is hugely welcome.

“Nature – our life-support system – is in trouble, and Scotland is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries. But it’s not too late to act. If the Scottish Government commits to nature recovery across 30% of land and sea, this would help tackle the nature and climate emergencies, while offering a cascade of benefits including new jobs, better health, food security, and healthier rivers and seas.

“We’re urging people to sign the Rewilding Nation Charter to help make this happen, and it’s wonderful that Leo has taken this important message of hope to his 62 million Instagram followers.

“We’d love Leo to visit Scotland to see some of Scotland’s inspiring rewilding projects being run by communities, charities, farmers and landowners, which are doing so much to restore nature and benefit society. This is vital action which will help our communities cope with floods, droughts, and crop failures.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Restoring Scotland’s natural environment is a key way that we can help address the twin challenges of nature loss and climate change, including many of the interventions championed by the Scottish Rewilding Alliance.

“Our £65m Nature Restoration Fund has committed nearly £40m since 2021 to unlock the full potential that nature restoration projects can bring to communities. The Fund has supported local businesses to boost nature tourism, helped landowners with pollinator projects to boost food production and supported improved access to both green spaces and our marine environment throughout Scotland.”

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