Pablo Albarenga @pabloa.photo here, taking over the @pulitzercenter instagram feed. •
This week I will share Rainforest Defenders, a project by @demoabierta, in collaboration with @engajamundo, supported by the Rainforest Journalism Fund, Pulitzer Center, which tells 5 stories of young leaders defending their territories in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
Jair Bolsonaro’s first 100 days have shown how damaging his presidency can be to very many people in Brazil. Communities in the Amazon region are continuously challenged by aggressive extractivist activities carried out by mining, logging, and agribusiness. The portrait of 5 young leaders from different communities in the Lower Tapajós River region tells a story of dignity, pride, courage and determination to resist. They lead us into their brave journeys to defend their territory and the rainforest standing up and confronting the attacks on the indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples and the environment currently unfolding in the Brazilian Amazon.
Joane (20) is an indigenous woman who leads a group of youngsters in defending the rainforest from plastic contamination in her village, Suruacá, in the Extractivist Reserve of the Tapajós-Arapiuns, in the Lower Brazilian Amazon. Plastic pollution, which is killing the river and rainforest fauna, gets to Suruacá through different means: the packaging of food and beverages they buy to complement their shrinking traditional food chain, waste thrown from passing boats, and from the emerging tourist resort across the river. As waste management is nonexistent, Suruacá villagers burn plastic waste on a daily basis. The fires get often out of control and burn the surrounding rainforest. Joane is asking authorities to implement a waste collection system and promotes recycling in her village using organic waste to produce natural gas and compost to fertilize their orchards and lower their dependence on food coming in plastic wrappings from town. Right: Joane lying on the sand, by the Tapajos River shore. Left: Plastic waste reaches the river beach, close to Suruacá village. Photo: Pablo Albarenga. •