Alejandra Lara (8-3) snapped a two-fight losing streak in impressive fashion on Saturday, forcing a first-round TKO finish over Taylor Turner. Perhaps more significantly, however, Lara found a way to fight for awareness of the globe’s existential climate crisis and the related fires being set and raging in the Amazon rain forest.
The Colombian donned face paint meant to honor indigenous people of South America, and also had the phrases “Stop deforestation,” “Respect nature” and “Respect animals,” written on her body to show the world during weigh-ins for Bellator 225. Neither the public activism nor her passion for the nature that sustains us all is new, for the 25-year-old.
“Last year I made a costume by myself for weigh-ins with leaves and paint representing indigenous people as well, representing the warriors of the Amazon, the richness of the territory,” she recounts to us Tuesday evening, before flying to Italy for more fight training.
“This time, with the fires going on, I felt like the message had to be more concrete for people, so they could understand.”
Even with the stress of fight-weeks, Lara says she’s compelled to not lose sight of larger issues. “There’s just a voice inside of me,” she explains.
“I’ve been vegetarian for eight years because I respect life, and because I believe people have to respect nature.”
Like many of us, Lara at times feels powerless to address humanity’s suicidal march towards the end of organized civilization through human greed-caused climate crisis. So, she gathers what resources she can, combines them with her creativity and platform as an international athlete, and hopes to help draw more attention to the emergency.
“My relationship with nature is a very close one. I was a girl scout as a kid (laughs). When I was a child I was always outside, I used to go to the river, I just loved being in nature. When you grow up and you see all these things, you see the reserves depleted, you see the things and places you used to visit as a kid are gone, you worry about that,” she said.
“I felt an impotence, a powerlessness about it all. That’s frustrating because I always feel like I have power. So, I felt like since I’m young, I need to speak out about things that matter, fight for things that are right.”
Lara feels compelled to not just speak of nature in the abstract, and in its health being necessary for all species’ survival, but also to advocate for and valorize indigenous people whose remaining populations who have not been wiped out are often maligned in public rhetoric.
In many Latin American countries, slurs for indigenous people are often used in passing. Lara feels a connection to indigenous people, however, and a deep gratitude toward them.
“I’m proud of representing my indigenous people, and I do feel like its mine, in my blood. They are the most important people in terms of protecting the Earth, right now,” she ends.
“Indigenous people represent five percent of the world’s population but they are protecting 82 percent of the world’s nature. They are people who really know how important this is. It’s about saving all of our lives, and there’s not much time left to do it. We’re going to be late.”
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