Salvaged bed frame. Photo by Orin Langelle.

Photographer Orin Langelle, Strategic Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project, was part of an international delegation from the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees  that arrived in Sanitago, Chile on 20 March 2017 to document the social and ecological impacts of industrial tree plantations in the country, and their link to the recent wildfires that were the worst in Chile’s history. The fires started in January 2017.

It is estimated that eleven people were killed, 1500 houses destroyed, thousands displaced and over 700,000 acres decimated. The delegation was sponsored by OLCA (Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales). I accompanied the delegation as a photojournalist and a participant. The opinions in the photo essay are Langelle’s and not necessarily the views of the delegation or the participants.

All of the images from the photo essay linked here were taken between 21 – 30 March 2017. Notes of the historical background are in italics and very brief as the legacy of the beginning of neoliberalism in the Americas is long and tragic. I hope these nuances of the past are not lost on the present or potential future of the Mapuche and Chilean peoples.

Leoardo Guajardo’s house was saved from the fire, but he lost orchards and crops. Photo by Orin Langelle.

See the full photo essay here.