With knowing comes caring

With knowing comes caring

21 January 2021 | Duration of reading: 4 min

By Eloisa Beling Loose

The world’s largest biome is frequently reported in national and international media. There is a series of discursive disputes towards this biome, especially regarding economic and political interests. The Amazon is not an unknown topic to Brazilian population – we will hear about the Amazon at some point, either by its exuberance or by its large-scale destruction. However, is what we know enough to take care of this biome? Can the information built by the press describe what most people cannot experience? How are we communicating the connections between the Amazon biome and people day-to-day?

          Since 2019 the Observatory of Environmental Journalism (Observatório de Jornalismo Ambiental) of GPJA/UFRGS produces critical analysis of media regarding environmental thematic. We seek to amplify and qualify the idea of what the environment is. Moreover, we seek to indicate how the act to do journalism is conditioned by certain logics and restrictions that tend to fragment the information and selects spaces of visibility from episodes that disrupt what is known as normal or episodes coated with polemics. Of course, there are different types of journalism. There is a growing number of professionals committed to a broad, plural, and contextualized coverage of themes revolving around the Amazon and the environmental field in general. However, free and easy access journalism, easily consumed by the internet, still faces barriers to bring the reality and the complexity that permeates this space of richness, conflicts and power asymmetry.
Environmental Journalism Research Group (Grupo de Pesquisa em Jornalismo Ambiental)/ UFRGS.

          In 2020 our Observatory approached the Amazon biome under different perspectives, presenting good examples of environmental journalism: an analysis of a report about bioeconomy bottlenecks; reflections on how international political relationships exert pressure on decision making, as was the case of Joe Biden’s position about the Amazon during the American election. However, despite the high attention given to the Amazon forest in this period, due to the fires and the increasing deforestation, our efforts also sought to talk about other biomes that suffer devastation but are silenced by the big press in a certain way. We cannot simplify the Amazon subject and naturalize biodiversity loss or reduce it to a resource for unsustainable economic growth, but at the same time, we must frame it as a part of a bigger and interdependent system.

Despite the peaks of mediatic attention the Amazon coverage still requires a broader look that connects causes and consequences. Source: Pixabay.

          In this regard, it is up to journalists a more critical vision of environmental subjects, observing “[…] the causes or the relationship chains that allowed (and allow) the discourse of progress to deforest, burn and alter lives based on ‘opportunity’ and profit in a more panoramic way”. To the readers-citizens, specially in this context of disinformation, we suggest investing more time in serious and reliable sources. To valorize it is first necessary to know. We know through our experiences but also through many manners of mediation offered by journalism. The information still being a fundamental element to sensibilize and mobilize. 

Science is done collaboratively

          The Observatory of Environmental Journalism (Observatório de Jornalismo Ambiental) is an extension project linked to the Grupo de Pesquisa Jornalismo Ambiental (CNPq – UFRGS) – Research Group of Environmental Journalism – created in 2008 and coordinated by Dra. Ilza Maria Tourinho Girardi. The Faculdade de Biblioteconomia e Comunicação of UFRGS and the Núcleo de Ecojornalistas do Rio Grande do Sul (NEJ-RS) are constantly partners of GPJA.

Want to know more? Access the links below! 

Besides the weekly media critics, GPJA researches continuously in the field of environmental journalism. Among the latest publication are: 

Novos rumos da cobertura ambiental brasileira: um estudo a partir do Jornal Nacional. (Link)

A contribuição do princípio da precaução para a epistemologia do Jornalismo Ambiental. (Link

Dossiê  “Los desafíos de la cobertura ambiental en tiempos de crisis”. (Link

Recentemente foi lançado, em parceria com a Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, o “Minimanual para a cobertura jornalística das mudanças climáticas“, voltado para a qualificação do trabalho jornalístico sobre o tema.

Eloisa Beling Loose is vice-leader of Grupo de Pesquisa Jornalismo Ambiental (CNPq/UFRGS). Graduated journalist in Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM), master’s degree in communication and Information in Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), and doctor in Environment and Development in Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). Dedicated to the interface Communication/Journalism and Environment. Received the Capes Thesis Award in 2017, did post-doctoral in Communications in 2018, and today acts as a researcher and consultant, especially in the Fields of communication and climate change. See more at LattesLinkedIn and at ResearchGate.