In Mother Jones

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

In mid-2009, veteran investigative Mark Schapiro was exploring the effects of a plan by three U.S. corporations to offset their carbon emissions by buying a forest in Brazil. Schapiro sought sources on the ground, including indigenous communities. Project Word set him up with a Guarani interpreter and helped him travel to Brazil. The result: an expose in the November–December Mother Jones accompanied by a PBS/Frontline piece, both amplifying the voices of “carbon refugees.”

Several Guarani families live on this island in southern Brazil, which sits near a controversial forest reserve. General Motors, Chevron, and American Electric Power, the largest U.S. operator of coal-fired power plants, bought the reserve to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Nicolas Villaume.Several Guarani families live on this island in southern Brazil, which sits near a controversial forest reserve. General Motors, Chevron, and American Electric Power, the largest U.S. operator of coal-fired power plants, bought the reserve to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Nicolas Villaume.

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 2:34pm