Mother Jones: Carbon Refugees

Should General Motors be allowed to mitigate its pollution by buying a Brazilian forest? Ask the people who live there.

Compared to “The Dark Side of Plan Colombia,” which received our start-to-finish services, this article revealed Project Word’s motto of restraint—“Do what’s necessary, stay out of the way.”

Djeguaká Werá, 84, the Guarani opyguá, or shaman, on Cerco Grande Island, a 31-person community near Guaraqueçaba, Brazil. The island sits near a contested forest reserve to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Nicolas Villaume, 2009, from Conversations with the Earth.Djeguaká Werá, 84, the Guarani opyguá, or shaman, on Cerco Grande Island, a 31-person community near Guaraqueçaba, Brazil. The island sits near a contested forest reserve to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Nicolas Villaume, 2009, from Conversations with the Earth.

The writer, experienced investigative journalist Mark Schapiro, wanted to trace the effects of controversial carbon trading on the inhabitants of a Brazilian forest. But he needed absolutely no developmental editing assistance of any kind from Project Word, nor any entrée to editors. Project Word never saw a word of any draft. We simply liked and trusted his proposal, as did Mother Jones.

Instead, Schapiro needed support to report from Brazil. So we provided that assistance, along with access to an indigenous Guarani interpreter and a world-class French photographer, Nicolas Villaume. The results ran in the magazine's November–December issue, and included a PBS/Frontline documentary. Both works were widely circulated at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen (2009) and Cancun (2010). Schapiro’s subsequent article in Harper’s (with no involvement from Project Word) also covers related material.

Wed, 02/24/2010 - 10:36am