What is happening in the Amazon?
This podcast was born out of this concern, a question that many Brazilians do not know how to answer: What is happening in the Brazilian Amazon?
News about the Amazon is part of the daily routine: deforestation, fires, conflicts over land, illegal mining, invasions of protected areas and indigenous lands, wood theft. All this is in the news. They are stories that tell us the facts and make us understand that what happens in the Amazon region affects all life on Earth.
But there’s a difference between hearing and knowing, knowing and understanding, and understanding and feeling. Overall, the news that tells us the facts is not able to make us feel the anguish of those who were born and lived all their lives in the forest and fight to keep it alive.
The series Invisible Amazon, a true story, is an emotional journey in search of this Amazon of almost 30 million Brazilians who live in the forest. We are not travelling alone: Beka Munduruku, a 19-year-old indigenous activist, guides us through her world, tells us about her people, and warns us about the present and future dangers faced by the Amazon Rainforest.
The Amazon that we saw
When we established the path of our travel through the Amazon, it became clear that it would be impossible to visit the 10 cities with the highest rates of deforestation and fires in 2020. But this ranking revealed that most of them were concentrated in a single Brazilian State: Pará, which, in the last 15 years, also ranks as the absolute leader in number of fires and deforestation in the Amazon.
This is why we chose to start our immersion in the forest through Altamira, the largest municipality in Brazil in terms of territorial extension and also the champion of fires in 2020. From Altamira, we traveled about 2,500 km on dirt roads, with new and old asphalt, crossing wooden bridges in precarious conditions and land devastated by fire or deforested by soy or pasture.
We visited Itaituba, the so-called Pepita City, and its Gold Street, where parked trunk-trucks sell safes. Then we crossed the vast Tapajós River and saw the presence of mining everywhere, evident in the stretches where the green water of the river turned milky and muddy. We met mayors supporting the minning activity, or defending to change forest for soy plantations, or even arguing to legalize invaded public land. We visited a large settlement for small farmers that is full of large farms and cattle. We saw the sky fill with smoke from the fires burning the forest, and we met firefighters who travel miles with scarce equipment to put out these fires.
We recorded the advance of soybeans in the large grain storage silos at the port of Miritituba, in the State of Pará, on the newly asphalted stretch of the highway BR-163 that connects the city of Novo Progresso – the focus of the Fire Day in 2019 – to the port of Santarém, in the intense circulation of trucks and in the deforested areas along the highway. We met big farmers, miners, mayors, prosecutors, environmentalists, human rights defenders, indigenous leaders, small farmers, firefighters, and young indigenous activists.
This is the invisible Amazon that pulses below the treetops in aerial images of the rainforest. An Amazon made of people. In this series, they all have a voice.
Perhaps you miss government spokespeople who speak on behalf of the Ministry of Environment or Agriculture, Funai, Ibama, ICMBio and the National Council of the Legal Amazon, or the large companies mentioned in the episodes. All were contacted by our staff but chose not to speak.
“Invisible Amazon” is an original content from Storytel, one of the largest subscription streaming services for audiobooks and e-books worlwide, which offers more than 500,000 titles to listen to and read, on a global scale. Founded in 2005, it is currently the leading streaming service of stories to read and listen in Northern Europe.
Based in Stockholm, Sweden, and operating in more than 20 markets worldwide, Storytel aims to make the world a more empathetic and creative place, with great stories to be shared and enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, and anytime.
Invisible Amazon is an original content by Storytel Brasil.
André Palme – Country Manager
Mariana Rolier – Editorial Manager – Production & Acquisition
Antonio Hermida – Content Manager
Karina Pino – Marketing & Communication Manager
About Estadão Conteúdo
Estadão Conteúdo is the largest news agency in Brazil. Hundreds of news and photos are produced daily by the journalistic staff of Estadão, Agência Estado, international correspondents, partners throughout Brazil, and international agencies with a single goal: to cover facts and events in detail and truthfully. Reporters, columnists, and journalists specializing in various subjects are responsible for bringing information quickly, accurately, and with the trust and credibility of the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, one of the biggest media vehicles in Brazil.
The Invisible Amazon series is distributed by Estadão Conteúdo.
Eliane Perassa – Product & Content Manager
Sirlo Santos – Special Projects Manager
Júlio Bianco – Business Director
Luis Fernando Bovo – Content & Operations Director at Blue Studio