10/06/2008 at 07:00 PM EDT
Environmental champion Leonardo DiCaprio
has a message for the incoming administration: Let's ditch our 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," DiCaprio tells PEOPLE. "It's a moral issue and a patriotic issue, really."
The Oscar-nominated actor has worked passionately for years to promote alternative energy sources, like solar and wind power. He directed and produced the award-winning environmental documentary The 11th Hour
, an appeal to action on global warming, and maintains an eco-Web site, www.leonardodicaprio.org
No matter who wins the presidential election – Barack Obama or John McCain – the new administration needs to make alternative energy sources a priority, DiCaprio says.
"We need the government to be at the forefront of this," he says. "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."