On Thursday, November 8th, students and faculty from the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program enjoyed a cocktail reception celebrating the success of the photo exhibit by MPA in Environmental Science and Policy student Plinio Ribeiro. Ribeiro, an international student from Brazil, displayed pictures taken in the Amazon between January 2006 and April 2007 during the filming of the upcoming documentary “Return to the Amazon” by Jean Michel Cousteau and the Ocean Futures Society. With the short texts that accompany them, each of the images is a dissection of the Amazon and its challenges and opportunities in the twenty-first century.
Program Director Steve Cohen toasted to the hard work of Ribeiro: “these beautiful photos teach us about these precious resources and Plinio has combined his art with environmental education.” Working with issues of biodiversity for his summer and fall workshop project, Ribeiro has become increasingly aware of the importance of preserving biodiversity in natural ecosystems. He explains, “if there is one place on Earth where sustainable development is possible and needed, this place is the Amazon.”
“Return to Amazon” is a film documentary by Jean Michel Cousteau and Ocean Futures Society that will be aired on PBS next year. The purpose of the film is to examine the evolution of the Amazon over the past 25 years. Some of the sites visited were the same as those visited by Jacques Cousteau 25 years before. Based in Manaus, a city in north Brazil, Ribeiro began his work for the project by conducting research on some of the main issues the Amazon faces today. Impressed with his research, he was asked to join the crew and handle the logistics of some of the expeditions in Brazilian territory. His tasks ranged from translating between the set and locals to hiking for days looking for wild life.
The photographs he took provide a picture narrative of his trip. Some pictures depict the horrors of deforestation, looking at the ‘Arch of deforestation,’ an area where the agricultural frontier is encroaching on the Amazon. Others show the effects deforestation has had on local people, depicting Brazilian refugees living in abandoned motorboats on the river. Still other pictures display the beauty still inherent in this land, such as a sunset over Jau National Park.
This entire experience has left its mark on Ribeiro. “I had the opportunity to travel to so many different places that very few people get the chance to visit. This was the most important learning experience I’ve ever had.”
The photographs with descriptions will be on display on the fourth floor of the International Affairs Building until the end of November.
To view the exhibition, click here.