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    Mick Fanning is surfing in the colorful nights of Lofoten, shot during the film project‚ Chasing the Shot - Northern Lights' in Norway on November 10, 2016

    Star Power: DiCaprio Attacks Norwegian Government Over Oil Exploration

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    Hollywood A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio, who in addition to his exploits as a movie star is known for his environmental campaigning, has sent a clear message to the Norwegian government advising Prime Minister Erna Solberg to refrain from oil exploration in the area around the Lofoten Islands.

    In his Instagram post, the celebrated actor noted that the Lofoten archipelago was a haven for orcas and humpbacks and urged the Norwegian government to refrain from intended oil and gas exploration in the area, which he described as "one of the most biodiverse cold-water locations in the world."

    "Join the growing chorus of voices opposing this short-sighted plan that will forever change these fjords. Tell Norwegian Prime Minister @erna_solberg to keep these fjords clear of oil," DiCaprio wrote.

    The image used by DiCaprio stemmed from the Instagram account SeaLegacy, a gathering of seasoned photographers and filmmakers who work "on behalf of our oceans." The Lofoten picture is part of the series "Twelve Dreams of Christmas," intended as the groups' Christmas wish to the world's oceans.

    In a matter of a few days, Leonardo DiCaprio's call for the protection of the Lofoten archipelago has gathered over half a million "likes" and thousands of comments, rekindling the perennial Lofoten debate in Norway and giving heart to local environmental activists.

    "When I saw the post, I became incredibly happy. We need all the support we can get," Ingrid Skjoldvær of the Nature and Youth organization with a strong commitment to conservation efforts at Lofoten, told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK. "This is definitely one of the biggest things that have happened as regards involvement from famous personalities. The fact that DiCaprio supports the case is a great news and very cool," she said.

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    However, even Skjoldvær, despite all her optimism was unsure whether DiCaprio's involvement will prove a turning point in the Norwegian debate.

    "I do not think Erna Solberg will change her opinion for that reason alone. However, the engagement of celebrities can help more people to open up their eyes, both here at home and abroad," Skjoldvær argued. "Who knows, this might help put some pressure on politicians, so that they change their minds after all," Skjoldvær concluded.

    ​The Lofoten archipelago, whose name translates as "the lynx's foot" due to its distinctive shape, is situated off the coast of the county of Nordland and is known for its unique scenery with dramatic mountains and peaks, open sea and sheltered bays, beaches and untouched lands. Though lying within the Arctic Circle, it experiences one of the world's largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude.

    ​The sea surrounding the archipelago is exceptionally rich with wildlife and is home to the Røst Reef, the world largest deepwater coral reef. Additionally, approximately 70 percent of all fish caught in the Norwegian and Barents Seas use the area around Lofoten as a breeding ground.

    The Lofoten archipelago is one of Norway's foremost tourist attractions and has been ranked among the world's 50 best beaches by the Canadian travel agency Flightnetwork. Lofoten has made literary appearance in, among other things, Edgar Allan Poe's "A Descent into the Maelström" and Jules Vernes' "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

    READ ALSO: Gone With the Wind: Norway's Glaciers to Disappear in Hundred Years

    ​Norway has been mulling the idea of opening the waters off Lofoten to oil and gas drilling for years, which local entrepreneurs, fishing lobbies and environmental activists strenuously oppose.


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    oil and gas, environment, Erna Solberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Scandinavia, Lofoten archipelago, Norway
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