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Dr. Sebastião Salgado: Celebrated Photojournalist with Love for Nature and the Environment

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Today, we introduce Dr. Sebastião Salgado, an internationally acclaimed and multi-award-winning documentary photographer known for powerfully expressing the suffering of people living in hidden corners of the world and for his collaborations with humanitarian organizations. He has been especially recognized for photographing famine and its effects in Africa’s Sahel region.

Dr. Salgado’s eight-year worldwide Genesis series, includes photographs of landscapes, wildlife, seascapes, and Indigenous peoples. By looking through his lens, he says he now understands that animal-people, like an iguana-person he photographed, are just like his brother or relative.

He was the subject of Wim Wenders’s 2015 documentary “The Salt of the Earth,” nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for the 87th Academy Awards. In 2021, Dr. Salgado was bestowed one the world's largest and most prestigious art prizes, the “Praemium Imperiale” from the Japan Art Association. It is referred to as the “Nobel Prize of the Arts.”

To achieve their goals of wildlife restoration and sustainable rural development in the region, the couple founded Instituto Terra, located at the Bulcão Farm in Aimorés, Minas Gerais, in April 1998. To date, it has planted at least 3 million trees. Now, the couple-initiated idea has become very influential with 82,000-plus people having received training from Instituto Terra in environmental restoration and other areas, including students, forestry technicians and farmers.

On December 5, 2010, at the “The Greenest Heroes Gala” in Cancún, Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan) provided precious insight on how we receive blessings from trees: “A tree about this size, that you could put the arm around it, for example, the pine tree in the forest, one tree alone blesses you 15% spiritual points daily, by just being there. And even the small plants, when you walk in the garden, or you sit in the garden, you meditate, you have more spiritual points than sitting on concrete in a small room somewhere.”
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