New Delhi: An Indian-origin lawyer who went to Brazil in 1989 after getting a scholarship and also has a doctorate degree and completed three post-doctoral studies has dedicated his life to cause of Amazon forests. The man, Shaji Thomas, originally from Kerala has been a major environmental activist and even lived in a houseboat on the Amazon river. Also Read - Ship Floating in Sky in Viral Optical Illusion Leaves Netizens Stunned
Speaking to news agency IANS about his life in Brazil, Thomas said, “I came to Sao Paulo in the end of 1989 under an overseas training program. When I came here, the country was reeling under high inflation (more than 5,000 per cent per year). Though the country is extraordinarily rich, it has the high rate of corruption too. The right-wing government which was in power for many years favoured the rich class. Brazil is three times bigger than India and owns almost two-third of the Amazon rainforest. The gap between the rich and the poor is very evident in Brazil.” Also Read - Racing Donkey? Video of a Donkey Running on a Busy Road is Going Viral| Watch
“As soon as I came to Brazil, I had a wonderful social experience with landless/ homeless people living here and saw other social movements here. I also visited Amazon in 1990 for the first time and got a chance to live with the traditional tribal people there. The vast amazon forest and its natural resources have attracted many people from all over the world,” he added. Also Read - Meet Anastasia Pokreshchuk, the Model Who Claims to Have 'World's Biggest Cheeks' and Wants to Make them Even Bigger
On being asked about his inspiration to get into environmental conservation, Thomas said, “I was born in an agricultural family which had a lot of land and lived in the middle of the village in Ramapuram, Palai in Kottayam district. My uncles were living in high range and I always went to those areas during my childhood. My father was a local politician and social worker who had a great interest in the protection of the environment. He was a great inspiration for me. But when I was doing graduation in Mysore university, I developed great interest in Amazon forest and always dreamt of visiting there.”
He added, “As soon as I reached Brazil, I visited Amazon. The first visit to Amazon was very inspiring because I could live with tribal and riverain communities in Amazon. So, as soon as I finished my studies in Sao Paulo, I opted to work in Amazon.”
“As an environmental and social activist, I have decided to dedicate my life for the cause of Amazon and its local population, producing knowledge and sharing it. I know, I will have to face a lot of challenges while doing it but my conviction that we need Amazon is much stronger than any challenge,” said Thomas.