Smoke Signal monitoring started in 2019 with an independent research, made by journalist and activist Rebeca Lerer with the support of communicator Julia Alves, of the main facts and speeches associated with the socio environmental agenda since the presidential election of Jair Bolsonaro. In October 2020, the project became a public, interactive and bilingual timeline produced in partnership with communications agency Lema and its own editorial team including the journalist and translator Pedro Ribeiro Nogueira.
Designed specifically to document the dubbed by the own government “cattle herd strategy” and build the memory around the total destruction policies adopted by Bolsonaro administration, the Smoke Signal website features today over 600 entries written with careful content curation. The timeline details how the Bolsonarist project for land use in Brazil has fostered environmental crimes, destroyed forests and other biomes, put indigenous, rural and traditional communities at imminent death risk and compromised Brazilian goals of reducing emissions and fighting the climate crisis.
Over two and half years, we published a special feature on Land Grabbing, the report Backwards with Bolsonaro: Minus 30 years in 3; and the Guide The Amazon and the future of Brazil – an examination of the region’s 9 states between 2018-2022. We also organized events that gathered over 2,000 people, produced investigative and informative Twitter threads of key stakeholders of environmental destruction, worked on 3-part thematic features on Instagram, as well as content customized to international audiences via our channel in English, with activist and communicator Marianna Olinger and currently Gabriel Siqueira.
IN 2023, WE WILL STAY VIGILANT
For the upcoming year we believe that this organized memory can support legal actions to bring to Justice and hold accountable the operators of environmental devastation during Bolsonaro’s government, as it has already been flagged by the transition group working on behalf of president elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. As we Brazilians know too well, without memory, there is no reparation.
From January to April 2023, or during the initial 100 days of the new government, we will document the necessary political shift from the current context of dyscontrol on land use to the promised zero deforestation goal. We also plan to monitor Bolsonaro’s frontline allies who have been elected to National Congress and Amazon state governments: this group will be in harsh opposition towards climate justice efforts – and also there is no right to oblivion for those who commit crimes against humanity.
Among the sorrow for the immense and irreversible socio environmental loss and damage of the past four years and the hope for better days, we wish a merry holiday season and a happy new year to all survivors and victims of the Bolsonarist nightmare. May we go into 2023 with strength to pick up the pieces and build new journeys as we struggle for climate justice in Brazil.
30 Aug 22
The Amazon and the Future of Brazil: a guide - An examination of the region's nine states between 2018 and 2022