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Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

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The Planet

Brazilian Ice Sculptures Encourage Organ Donation via Great Design

São Paulo, Brazil launches a trippy new public art campaign to get residents to donate their organs.

Checking that “Organ Donor” box on forms and papers saves lives, but does it capture the imagination? Beneficência Portuguesa Hospital, in São Paulo, Brazil, recently launched a unique public art campaign to get residents to think of others, and donate their unused organs. The hospital installed a series of “Ice Men,” life-like, frozen statues of figures with visible internal organs, made of resin, that melt away to leave behind a single organ as a memento. These sculptures were created to represent the passage of life into death, the temporality of the human condition, and the ability we have to leave something tangible behind.

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Articles

Upcycling Solutions for Political Trash

A Brazilian project provides instructions on how to dismantle campaign signboards and turn them into DIY furniture.

Political campaigns generate all kinds of garbage—fliers, yard signs, empty promises. But at least promises don’t litter the streets long after the races are over. Every year, state institutions, grassroots organizations, and crafty individuals battle the scourge of leftover campaign materials. In Brazil, this past election cycle produced thousands of political sandwich boards that still lie scattered across the country.

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Articles

Stimulant of the Masses

Meet the radical ex-priest who took on Brazil's military dictatorship.

Almost 25 years ago, I was learning to organize miners and peasants in the north of Chile. One of the movement’s leaders pulled me aside and handed me a worn copy of Comunidades Eclesiales de Base, a book by Leonardo Boff. “This is how to make it work,” he told me. A couple of years later, in a refugee camp in El Salvador, I got the same book as a gift. Since then, I have found Boff’s books on the shelves of human rights lawyers in Colombia, activist journalists in Mexico, and peasants trying to win land rights throughout Latin America. Boff, who spent most of his career as a Catholic priest, was both a spiritual and political leader, providing both moral weight and practical guidance to the fight against dictatorships and rapacious capitalism throughout Latin America’s most tumultuous years.

Boff left the small town of Concórdia, in the state of Santa Catarina where he was born to join the Franciscan Friars in 1959. Over the next 30 years, he organized “base communities,” small groups, spun off from the Brazilian church, to resist the dictatorship and strive for human rights. Writing about religion, community and politics, Boff became the most prolific scribe of liberation theology, a populist movement that questioned the church’s role in preserving a status quo rife with inequality and injustice. The poor and marginalized, he insisted, see power and suffering in a different way than the rich. Not that crazy an idea, considering the Bible is ostensibly a book about poor Judean peasants, carpenters, and fishermen.

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