7th Annual Fundraiser Raises $1.4 Million for Ocean Conservation

leoSiebbi - ipernity.com. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Leonardo DiCaprio, Ted Danson, Dennis Haysbert, Laura Dern, Miranda Cosgrove, Austin Nichols, Oscar Nunez, Rachael Harris and Jenna Ushkowitz attended the 7th annual SeaChange Summer Party in Laguna Beach on Saturday evening to support Oceana, the world’s largest international organization dedicated to ocean conservation.

DiCaprio was honoured for his continued commitment to protecting the world’s oceans at this year’s event, which was held at a private coastal villa in Laguna Beach. Approximately 400 guests attended the event and helped raise $1.4 million for Oceana.

DiCaprio is a longtime environmental advocate whose foundation donated $3 million to Oceana earlier this year.

“Allow me to get straight to the point,” said DiCaprio. “I truly believe that saving our oceans is the most important struggle of our time.

“As an avid diver I’ve been lucky enough to dive in places all over the world, including Australia, the Galapagos, Belize and Thailand. I’ve witnessed first-hand not only the beauty that our oceans have to offer a diver, but everything they have to offer humanity.

“We have an obligation to protect our planet and all the species that inhabit it, and that is why I’m here today to celebrate Oceana’s achievements. For me and my foundation, Oceana is an absolute no-brainer to support because they deliver tangible results and that’s what we need. We need someone to deliver tangible results in this fight.”

Guests raised their paddles in both silent and live auctions. The program this year focused on protecting the waters off the California coast.

California Campaign Director Geoff Shester inspired the audience by sharing how the Oceana approach has already produced results in protecting the Pacific: “Oceana got more than 140,000 square miles of fragile seafloor habitat off this coast closed to destructive bottom trawling,” he said. “This is an ocean area nearly the size of the state of California! We protected more than 40,000 square miles of critical feeding habitat for the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle off the West Coast. And we helped ban the sale and trade of shark fins in California, Oregon, and Washington. Our vision is a California brimming with ocean life that can provide food and jobs for Californians.”