Gabriela Sá Pessoa, a journalist passionate about human rights and climate change, is currently based at the MIT Center for International Studies. She has a background in reporting on the Amazon, human rights violations, and environmental crimes.
Reporting on the Amazon and its environmental issues is crucial because many people are not fully aware of the problems it faces. The destruction of the rainforest is driven by economic forces, and we are all complicit in some way. It is the role of journalism to make people aware of their contribution to the problem and encourage them to take action to protect the Amazon. This is important for both local and global communities, as the rainforest plays a vital role in climate regulation.
Regarding the recent presidential election in Brazil, Gabriela expects to see challenges for the new Lula administration in terms of climate and environmental policies. The agribusiness sector holds significant power and influence in Congress, which poses obstacles to environmental protection efforts. There are also internal disputes within the government between environmentalists and supporters of mining and infrastructure projects, such as Petrobras’ plan to drill offshore oil reserves in the mouth of the Amazon River. Despite these challenges, the administration has shown positive action in addressing issues like the Yanomami genocide by sending task forces to the region to expel illegal miners.
Rebuilding environmental policy and fighting deforestation will take time, considering the agencies responsible for enforcement are understaffed and environmental crimes have become more sophisticated. While preliminary data shows a reduction in deforestation in the Amazon in April, the Cerrado region experienced record deforestation. Lula will also face other problems in the economy and politics, such as the recent insurrection in the country’s capital and the increasing occurrence of mass killings in schools.
Gabriela has been learning a lot from her time at MIT and her fellowship. She is taking courses and attending lectures on pressing issues to humanity, including climate change and artificial intelligence. As a journalist, she is incorporating a scientific approach into her work and exploring the potential of technology to offer solutions and pose problems. Being in the academic and scientific environment has been inspiring for her.
Regarding artificial intelligence, Gabriela has had the opportunity to learn about generative AI and its policy implications. MIT has provided her with the chance to attend various classes, seminars, and events on the subject.
Overall, Gabriela’s work focuses on highlighting the intersection of human rights and climate change, particularly in the context of the Amazon. She believes that raising awareness, taking action, and incorporating scientific approaches are essential in addressing these pressing issues.