Italian biologist dedicates life to Amazon rainforest conservation

Emanuela Evangelista, an Italian biologist, has captured the attention of the internet for her lifelong commitment to nature and environmentalism. As both an environmental activist and the president of the Amazônia Onlus association, she has dedicated her life to combatting deforestation and conserving biodiversity, particularly in the Amazon rainforest. This has sparked a surge of interest in her personal and professional journey.

Evangelista’s story began in a small town near Rome. After completing her biology studies at La Sapienza University, she relocated to Milan to work for Terra, a magazine published by an environmental protection non-governmental organisation. This role exposed her to various global projects, one of which took her to Brazil to assist in building a school in the Amazon.

The Amazon’s stunning natural beauty struck a chord with Evangelista, inspiring her to focus her academic thesis on the rainforest. This marked the beginning of her career as an environmental researcher, which frequently took her back to the Amazon for fieldwork.

In 2004, Evangelista founded the Amazônia Onlus association. Initially, she divided her time between Italy and Brazil, but by 2013, she decided to permanently relocate to the Amazon, demonstrating her profound commitment to the environment.

Evangelista now lives in a stilt house with a thatched roof in Xixuaù, a village within the Jauaperi National Park. The park spans 600,000 hectares of forest and is far removed from Brazil’s bustling cities. Despite its isolation, which poses challenges particularly in terms of access to public services, Evangelista considers the area a refuge, where the policies of Brazil’s government have less impact.

However, the remoteness of the region can make interactions with politics and public administration exhausting. It’s also where her association, the Amazônia Onlus, operates, providing medical supplies and supporting youth education. The association maintains a strong presence with 50 people on the ground, two permanent staff members, and a rotating roster of seasonal workers and volunteers from Italy, tirelessly working to uphold the association’s mission in this unique and challenging environment.