Photographer to present conference and exhibit on rainforest reduction on Tuesday | Life in the valley


South America’s vast Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest tropical rainforest, has served as the planet’s lungs for countless millennia, according to Terre Haute speaker / photographer Alexandra McNichols-Torroledo.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has supported shrinking the rainforest and transforming it into a savanna ecosystem for use as pasture for livestock and as cultivated land for soybean farms for global export.

McNichols-Torroledo will give a lecture and photo exhibition of his work at 3:30 p.m. on November 2 in the Dede III Boardroom at Indiana State University, Hulman Memorial Student Union.

McNichols-Torroledo made three photographic trips to the rainforest of the Amazon watershed to document the changing landscape. She also investigated how indigenous communities are affected by the fires and how they deal with illegal loggers, miners and land grabbers.

McNichols-Torroledo, who worked with megaprojects affecting indigenous peoples for 10 years, stayed with a community of Mura, which lives in the eastern and central parts of the state of Amazonas in Brazil.

“The Mura are known historically for their valiant resistance against the Portuguese crown in the 1700s as the Portuguese colonized their lands,” McNichols-Torroledo said. “… Modern Mura women fight the Bolsonaro government by marching to the national capital of Brasilia, fighting for their right to land. Last September, 5,000 indigenous women in Brazil won a major legal battle in Brazilian courts over a Bolsonaro-sponsored law that would have allowed cattle ranchers and farmers to take over much of the land. indigenous communities.

In 2020, McNichols-Torroledo used a camera-equipped drone to take wide-angle aerial shots of the rainforest blaze for his article published in EL Espectador, the leading newspaper in his homeland of Colombia. This year, she left the Mura with a drone and gave them instructions on how to use it to continue documentation.

McNichols-Torroledo hopes his lectures will enlighten the audience: “The consequences of what is happening to the Amazon rainforest are not limited to South America. Because of its vastness, the ecological impact of the withdrawal of the rainforest from our planet will be global, including the agricultural countries of our American Midwest. It is already a factor in the huge wildfires in the American West and the increasingly powerful hurricanes that are destroying the southeastern part of the United States. “

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