A raging fire devastated Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in the summer of 2019. Images of the blaze frightened experts and politicians around the globe. Protecting the unique ecosystem is essential for climate conservation.

The sight of forests in the Amazon burning in 2019 struck fear into anyone who saw it. Suddenly, the threat to the climate was tangible. The trees some call the “world’s lungs” were going up in flames. Suddenly, politicians, journalists, and the general population agreed that something had to be done. Because without the Amazon, the world has a big existential problem. In terms of species diversity, the Amazon river and surrounding forest are one of the earth’s richest regions. It’s also home to many indigenous peoples, whose homes are seriously threatened by degradation of the forest. This documentary depicts the current humanitarian and environmental disaster and goes in search of reasons why this unique ecosystem is being destroyed. Satellite images from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, the INPE, form the framework for the film. A renowned scientist and former head of the institute, Ricardo Galvão, was fired by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who said the images damaged Brazil’s reputation and were flawed anyway. Yet the data from 2019 shows a drastic rise in illegal clear cutting. Filmmaker Albert Knechtel went to the region to take stock. He traveled across Brazil, from the Bolivian border to Xingu, traversing the crisis-stricken area and meeting local experts, critics, and residents who describe the situation. Together they sharpen understanding of the region, which is at a crossroads. The next direction the Amazon takes will influence the fate of the entire world.

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