‘’You would not believe, but you can sense the breathing of the trees in the sides of the Amazon River

EG: Juan Diego Galaz, at a certain point in your life you went to live in Amazonia. What was the experience like for you?

JDG: Well, thank you very much for the question. The first time I went was in 2012 and I really did not know what Amazonas was. For this reason, my first reaction was somehow of shock. Different place, different people, the weather…It is a very unique place in the world. My second impression was the different kind of lifestyle. I met indigenous communities in the forest and it was really this special experience.

EG: In what way special?

JDG: Special because we normally believe that there is only a way to live our lives, normally we refer to it as civilisation and modern civilisation, and the reality is very different. There are several ways in which we can live our lives and several ways in which we can be human beings. Good human beings.

EG: Okay. You are now in a very different place, in Dublin, doing a Phd in Law. Now, how did you get from that experience in Amazonia to Dublin?

DG: First of all, I think that the first source of motivation or inspiration is from my work. When I am working on my Phd I spend eight to twelve hours a day in the library but in my mind, there are a lot of faces, people; many images from the Amazon and their issues nowadays, this is my first source of inspiration. Then, a responsibility to say what is happening there, what are the issues and trying to be clear about the problems and explaining the causes and trying to offer some kind of solutions.

EG: So, this Phd is drawing on your experience and what you saw there. You saw things wrong there, you saw people suffering presumably that makes you want to do this study now.

JDG: For us as Jesuits, the academic life and our various activities arenot about the task in itself; for me the Phd is a possibility to go deep into the problems of the people who are important to me. It is not about a personal achievement.

EG: Okay. And one last thought. This Synod on the Amazon which is happening, how do you see it, from both the experience to be with people and a study, how do you see this?

JDG: Firstly, the Synod in Amazon is a sign of hope, because we as Catholics and non-Catholics we are discussing on a very urgent topic which is the Amazon, this is the first. The discussion is not important only because of the results or possible outcomes but because of the discussion in itself. We have to create communities to resolve common problems, we have to take care and look after our Common Home, in the Pope´s words. However, I think that we have a very strong challenge to face which is our common language, our common meanings need to be improved, we have to develop new meanings and ways of speaking to talk to the world, to talk about the common issues, to understand the institutional changes that we have to face and other things like this.

EG: Okay. Well, thank you very much for your time and thoughts. 

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