Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim famously said that Brazil is not for beginners. And that was decades before a figure like Bolsonaro became the president of the country with the highest biodiversity in the world. So to help you understand the importance of Brazil’s natural world and the risks it faces, we’ve compiled these four multimedia stories.
These pieces are also great examples of how multimedia resources can broaden our understanding on complex issues. We hope you enjoy them.
The Amazon’s carbon tipping point (PRI)
In this special series, Pulitzer Center grantee Sam Eaton talks to landowners, scientists and indigenous leaders to try to answer a simple question: can we save the Amazon, so it can help save us?
The central point of the series is the finding by Brazilian scientists that the Amazon forest, who was once a great carbon sink, might have stopped absorbing extra CO2. But instead of simply painting a bleak picture, the stories shed light into the causes and put forward alternatives.
The series is also a great example of excellent use of multimedia resources. The pieces use drone footage as a header at the top of each piece and high-quality pictures are scattered throughout the text. Not only that, but visitors can listen to the stories as podcasts, with each audio using the original recordings of ambient sound and interviews.
Click here to access the link to the four pieces. Image by Sam Eaton.
The Purus-Madeira series (Mongabay)
This three-story series looks at what’s happening in the Purus-Madeira basin. Located in the south part of the Amazonas state, the basin is a well-conserved and little studied region of the Amazon forest. Improvements on the precarious BR-319 road, that links the cities of Manaus and Porto Velho, are attracting loggers, ranchers, gold-miners and land grabbers, posing a threat to environmental conservation. The pieces feature text, videos and interactive maps. It also includes testimonies from local entrepreneurs, environmental authorities and activists.
We already know what Jair Bolsonaro’s vision for the Amazon would look like (Quartz)
While this is a relatively simple piece, the time-lapse maps in it have become viral. And for good reason. The maps show, in a very clear way, how creating protected areas and indigenous lands are effective ways of hampering deforestation.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly stated that he will not demarcate new indigenous land during his term. Instead, many fear that his intention is to turn some of that protected areas into agribusiness land. If past events are of any guide, the consequences could be disastrous for the environment.
You can find the story here. Images by NASA.
A tidal wave of mud (The New York Times)
Last January, a tailings dam at an iron ore mine in the state of Minas Gerais collapsed. The resulting mudflow killed nearly 200 people and caused an environmental disaster. It was the second event of this kind in three years. Both mining dams were owned by the same company, Vale S.A. This new episode is a tragic reminder that a development model based on extractivism poses great risks. It is also an example of the great power and the lack of accountability that many big companies have in Brazil.
The New York Times investigation shows that there are 87 dams across Brazil similar to the one that collapsed. Of those, 27 are near populated cities. The piece includes several info-graphs that show how they built the dam and the path that the toxic mud took after the burst. Satellite images, photographs and third-party videos complete this in-depth piece.
You can find the story here.