I’m Amanda Magnani, a Brazilian (photo)journalist and OptOut News’ climate editor. Every other week, I bring you the most important climate news from our network—with an extra serving of decolonial perspectives. ✨🌿
If you have been with us for a bit, you know I've spent the past two months in the Brazilian Amazon, documenting sustainable initiatives developed by Indigenous communities. This expedition was supported by the Amazon Rainforest Journalism Fund from the Pulitzer Center, and you can read a bit about the experience in this special newsletter.
The state of Roraima is, on the one hand, the most Indigenous and, on the other, the most pro-Bolsonaro state in Brazil. Surrounded by plantations and illegal mining, native communities have been finding ways to be sustainable, both environmentally and economically. They combine traditional knowledge with modern techniques to grow crops in community farms, protect traditional seeds, and raise animals, from fish to poultry to cattle. They are in a constant fight for their physical and cultural survival
Next Monday, Liana DeMasi, OptOut’s LGBTQ+ editor, will interview me for an original podcast where I’ll talk about these initiatives and, most importantly, about what we can learn from them to fight the climate crisis. So send your questions our way! Ask anything you would like to know about the initiatives and my experience over there!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, congratulations are in order to one of our dear member outlets. Grist is a finalist for the 2023 Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards in the Writing Long Form category. You can read Jake Bittle’s piece, “The Cochise County Groundwater Wars,” here. Good luck, and we’re cheering you on! 🍀🎉
Power Shortages 🌿 Drought in the Midwest 🌿 Failure of Climate Talks
Turns out scientists were right when they predicted electricity shortages for this summer across the U.S.—who could have guessed? Louisiana is already experiencing it, according to an article republished by Louisiana Illuminator. The month of June brought temperatures in the high 90s to the state, where residents were urged to stay indoors to save themselves from the health risks of prolonged heat exposure. That, however, was no solution, as people have been left without power or air-conditioning for days.
Texans, meanwhile, are thriving. As the state strives to become a renewable energy leader, solar power has not only prevented outages but actually saved grids and wallets. Analysts believe that it was only possible due to the state’s doubling down on solar energy generation since early 2022, Common Dreams reports.
But heat waves are not the only challenge so far this summer. In the Midwest, states that are normally prone to flooding are now facing such extreme drought that not only are farmers’ crops at risk, but the world’s food supply is in danger, according to Stateline via Wisconsin Examiner. These arid conditions are expected to persist—and expand—through September, as reported by Wisconsin Watch.
Meanwhile, as the world slowly starts to get ready for this year’s COP 28, set to take place in Dubai in late November, it looks like we should brace ourselves for a big letdown. Common Dreams reported on the U.N. climate conference in Bonn, Germany, and on the climate finance summit in Paris, France. These gatherings had one main thing in common: rich countries showed just how minimally committed they are to confronting Big Oil and investing in Loss and Damage.
And more news:
🛢️ “Agricultural Land Is Becoming an Investment Vehicle for the Rich,” by Jacobin.
🛢️ “U.S. county sues ExxonMobil and others for climate damages,” by Gas Outlook.
🛢️ “Nowhere Is ‘Safe’ From Climate Change,” by The New Republic.
Decolonizing Climate Change
🌱 If you want to understand the importance of returning stolen remains for Natives to heal community traumas, read this story by Michigan Advance.
To Lighten Your Heart
💚 “Landmark Youth-Led Climate Justice Trial Begins,” by The Lever.
💚 “Can affordable housing be energy efficient? These developers say yes.” by Minnesota Reformer.
💚 “Farming carbon: Farm bill presents opportunity to unite farmers, climate activists,” by South Dakota Searchlight.
Global South Corner
This week, our Global South Corner answers a question sent by our reader William Moore in our in our Discord channel:
Do you have any information on whether Brazil's state-owned oil company is expanding its operations in fossil fuels, and how the Lula admin views hitting climate goals while dealing with that?
So I talked to Délcio Rodrigues, executive director of the ClimaInfo Institute.
“Petrobrás (the state owned oil company) definitely wants to expand its operations, and to expand them a lot,” he told me. “In fact, the current president of the company has openly said he hopes it will become the fourth-biggest oil exporter in the world, and that the last drop of oil drilled in the world will come from Brazil.”
Regarding how [Brazilian President] Lula views the situation, Rodrigues started by reminding us that the current government is a “broad front” one—that is to say, it is composed by politicians of many different views and therefore has a great number of inconsistencies.
“Lula knows this is a contradiction,” Rodrigues said. “But even those in the government who agree about the importance of the climate agenda tend to see oil exploitation as the only, or at least the main, way to fund social programs.”
Rodrigues believes Lula will most likely keep fighting for an international agreement on phasing out oil—one that, instead of just requiring countries like Brazil to stop exploring oil while the U.S., Norway, Saudi Arabia, and Russia keep drilling, would really take global climate justice into account.
That’s all for now, folks! If you’re a climate journalist and want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Discord group. Over there, I will share new opportunities and resources every week, and you can let me know who—or what—you want to see next on the Global South Corner.
If you have any questions or suggestions, hit me up at email@example.com.
Obrigada and have a great week!
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