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Celebrating Women & Girls In Sports

Celebrating Women & Girls In Sports

Bellator MMA’s Alejandra Lara Fights For The Amazon Rainforest

Bellator flyweight, Alejandra “Azul” Lara used her platform at a 2019 weigh-in to bring awareness to one of the world’s biggest environmental issues.

The Columbian fighter appeared onstage for the ceremonial weigh-ins of Bellator 225, where she was set to face Taylor Turner. Lara took off her warm-up gear when she got to the scale, revealing a series of messages she had written on her body.

“STOP DEFORESTATION” was written prominently across her chest, with the messages “RESPECT NATURE” and “RESPECT ANIMALS” written on either bicep. Her right leg read “Our lungs are on fire!” while “salva la selva” (save the jungle) was written along her left leg.

Lara’s activism went viral on social media the next day, with multiple news outlets tipping their hats to the previously little-known Bellator flyweight. 

The gesture was inspired by the rampant deforestation and environmental damage being done to the Amazon rainforest, which Lara explains, is not being taken seriously enough by local governments.

“I bring attention to the jungle because it needs it, because it really is the moment to do something for our future, to think that we only have a land that is seriously sick and we have governments that don’t want to do anything about it,” Lara states in an Instagram post, originally in Spanish.

Over the past 50 years, the World Wildlife Fund estimates that about 20% of the Amazon Rainforest has already been destroyed by deforestation. If this trend continues, it is estimated that over a quarter of the rainforest will be completely without trees by 2030.

Additionally, 2019 saw an 85% increase in wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. Much of the increase is due to human activity, commonly in the form of industrial fires or controlled burns gone wrong. 

Lara brought awareness back to the rainforest more recently on Earth Day in 2020. She reposted the pictures from her viral Bellator 225 weigh-in on Instagram, this time accompanied by an inspirational message about the Earth and its unpredictability:

“These are difficult times for the entire planet, not only due to the crisis of the pandemic but also due to the progressive degeneration of natural resources and biodiversity, a result of our unhealthy relationship with the environment. Being in quarantine is an opportunity to open our eyes and realize that we are not in control of our life, we do not even produce what we eat nor do we know how to survive without depending on this system, but we can wake up, be more aware and be more sustainable . The decisions we make every day, what we don’t care about and what we are responsible for is what makes the difference. Happy Earth Day, which is the only one we have, on which we really depend and which has everything that we need.”

Photo Credit: Instagram, Unsplash

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