Fire in the forests, smoke in the air, hashtags… Can environment ignite Brazilian discontentment against its president?

Fires are spreading throughout the Amazon forest, not only in Brazil but also in neighbor countries. Last August 19th, the sky of Sao Paulo turned black around 3pm. Suddenly, Instagram was full of shocked citizens asking ‘what the hell is going on?’ ‘Is it the apocalypse?’. The explanation would come few hours later, when experts said that winds transported the smoke from the North to the big metropolis, and that the cold air helped to paint the dramatic landscape.

To contextualize, this is dry season in most part of the country, when fire in the vegetation are a normal scene, being due to natural causes, accident or initiated by farmers who want a cheap and fast way to clear the land for crops or cattle. However, data from research centres show that the number of fires are 83% higher than what was recorded up to the same period last year. What can indicate a bigger help from farmers in this process. 

The president continually denies these data, following his ‘guru’, Trump, he often blames the media and has also insinuated that NGOs could be behind the fires, in plot undermine his government. Since his campaign Bolsonaro is well know to be aligned with big famers, encourage more use of land, mining in the North, and so on. So, it is not a surprise when eniinronemtalists blame him for the increase in the deforestation. These fires are happening a month after Bolsonaro fired the Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) director, over the institute’s data that showed an increase of the Amazon deforestation during 2019. These data showed that more a thousand km2 of Amazon were deforested only in first had of July, 68% more than in July 2018. Bolsonaro was not pleased with the numbers and questioned their reliability. 

Now, calls for demonstrations pro amazon and against Bolsonaro are being spread all over social media. The claim is that Bolsonaro’s rhetoric is leading to a disaster, encouraging lodgers to deforest protected areas. Also, the current government is trying to pass more flexible laws to allow for more land to used for farming, and Bolsonaro has said that during his government no more land will be destined to indigenous peoples. The hashtag #prayforamazon is trending on Twitter, with lists of cities that will hold demonstrations increasing every minute. 

Meanwhile, on the right-wing side of social media, users claim that these fires occur every year, and Bolsonaro is not to blame for them, and that opposers would claim his is guilty of every-single-thing that goes wrong in the country. They are partially right. Data from the #globalforestwatch graphs show that fire alerts in #Brazil up to August 2019 are 103.146, whilst until august 2018 they were 72.836. Although this is almost double, it is not our record, in 2005, for example, there were 199.733 fire alerts up to August. 

Yes, this is not our worst moment, but we haven’t reached the peak of the dry season yet. That is still a lot of time for the forest to burn. So, yes, a lot of forest can still bur only this year, and next year, and so on… until some day the numbers decrease simply because there is not much forest left anyway. 

So, let’s see if all the online commotion will turn into street presence in the following days. One of the first of such demonstration is to be held tomorrow (August, 23rd) in Brasilia, where I am located. 


Brasil 1 – first impressions

So, here I come Brasil.

First time in a little over two years. 34 hours trip, a lot to bring back in memories and luggage. A lot to absorve. A lot to relearn. A lot to achieve. My head full of expectations and hope.

As usual, coming back to my home country is always a mix of feelings, part of me embrace my older home, part of me misses the new home abroad. And, in this mess, I try to make connections, and exist in this ‘inbetweeness’.

My first impressions were regarding things related to my research. Like, how connected everyone is, always on their smartphones and WhatsApp messages and groups. Even my mother, the most non technological person I know, is on WhatsApp all day.

Another observation was how different I feel here in Brazil, comparing to all other countries I lived, especially the latest, Australia. It is like you switch a button or something inside you, or you swap lens, and you see everything under another light.

I decided to take it slow, and give myself a break before anything.

And that’s what I will write about next.

My days in a community surrounded by nature, indigenous peoples and peace.

Not yet…

Want a doctorate.


Not really sure. I have always held this as a goal.


I want to be able to be an effective educational leader.

Ok. So what are you interested in studying?

Umm . . . well . . . how leaders affect what happens in schools.

What do you like to read?

Yes, umm, yes, my Miller’s Analogies Scores weren’t very good (Why did I say that?).

Tell us about that.

I guess it’s because, my vocabulary is, well, I guess it’s because I haven’t read a lot of really difficult texts—I mean it’s not what I do in my leisure time, I mean I read for particular purposes . . . I didn’t grow up reading difficult texts. I grew up in a really small town, and I guess I wasn’t surrounded by . . . I guess I need to work on that.

So, what do you like to read in your leisure time?

Well, again, I read for particular purposes, to accomplish goals and tasks and once in a while read a John Grisham novel.

That pause.

That look.

(They don’t want me . . . I am not ready . . . I can’t do this . . .)

Not Yet . . .

Driving away, knowing I failed

Pit in my stomach, grows to a tightening in my throat

If only I had been more . . . careful

More certain, more polished

More scholarly, more refined

Not Yet . . .

Feeling ashamed, knowing I failed

Wondering why I lacked confidence

Why I mentioned my test scores

My vocabulary

Feel small, very small

Like my small town

Not Yet . . .

Growing angry and deeply sad, knowing I failed

Pretending I didn’t really want it

That it wasn’t necessary

Defending where I was from

Despising who I wanted to become

Not Yet . . .

Four years later I was admitted into a doctoral program and have now ascended through the ranks to full professor—and have since read more “challenging texts” than I can count. I now sit in judgment of others like me—wanting to be accepted into a doctoral program, wanting to pass preliminary exams, wanting to successfully defend dissertations. I wonder what pauses and looks I enact, embody, and give.

Mark D. Vagle, 2018 p. 27

Crafting Phenomenological Research

Connecting dots… and people

Last week we had our Higher Degree Research Conference, a place for researchers in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UTS to show their work and connect with colleagues. 

As a newbie in this academic world, this was my first conference. I was in the organizing committee, but more important than helping to organize this event was to see so many possibilities of research inside my faculty.  

Research and PhD life is a lonely endeavour and more often than not we find ourselves so immersed in our own struggles that we don’t have the time or even the motivation to see what is going on around us, what our colleagues are doing. I find myself on this spot a lot! But it is when I allow myself to see and hear what others are doing that I feel more inspired and excited about my own research. 

Seeing so many different works made me realize that it is possible to research in so many ways, from so diverse standpoints. It is amazing. And a conference is the best place to see this diversity in a short period of time.

Research with a heart 

All the projects I saw during the conference helped me in some way to figure out something on my own research, even when it was a research on education or what topic not related to my own in any way, and all were interesting and inspiring. But, two of them made me think a little more how our personal experiences can be used as a strength in research. 

Life on the Edge, by Sinead Roarty, was a great surprise to me – as I didn’t know her and hadn’t heard about her research before, and we are in the same faculty… She is using walking methodologies to understand the relationships the community form with a place known as a place for suicides in Australia – The Gap.  

Her presentation begins with her memories of the place, that she used to visit during her childhood. Besides the research around traumascapes, she is also writing a novella, as a creative outcome. 

What made this presentation so special to me, was her engaging storytelling and her personal relationship with the research. You could see that she was deeply present in her research and this made it all so much more powerful.

Scripting for screen and space: how alternative exhibition formats such as virtual reality are impacting poetic documentary practice by Renée Brack sounds (and it is) incredibly technical and sophisticated but it was also filled with her personal story. Personal archive and her relationship with dementia (experienced by her father) were used to produce a Virtual Reality video and a poetic documentary to help the public to have a grasp of what it is to live with dementia and, hopefully, bring more awareness and empathy to this illness. 

Renée’s presentation made me realize that our stories are our strength, they are what make each one of us unique in the competitive academic world and that we (me) should explore this more.  

Both projects showed me how our personal stories can lead to exceptional research work and make our projects even stronger. And made me proud and grateful to be part of such inspiring team of researchers.

Life After the PHD 

There should be life after PhD, right? So, on the first day, we heard  The Thesis Whisperer, Inger Mewburn, on work possibilities for PhD graduates. She brought data about employment in Australia for graduate researchers. And, believe it or not, there are many jobs out there for us! Yeah! 

What I’ve got from her talk is that we have to connect the dots and use all things we do during the PhD to show the recruiters we have the skills for such jobs – most of them don’t know exactly what a PhD involves and we should translate our skills to their vocabulary.  For example, when they ask about time management, budget management, project management etc. 

Also, we shouldn’t only focus on our research (this is hard, I know) and try to engage in courses or events (such as organizing a conference, box ticked for me!) to have a more diverse CV and more connections. And be aware of all the course our universities offer and other opportunities to make our CVs juicier and looking great. I also think these courses can help my research. What about you? 

For me, Inger’s talk was about being practical and thinking ahead, as there will be a life after the PhD, and we will gonna rock it! 

In sum, a research conference, besides being a place to show your work, make connections with colleagues, can bring a wide range of inspirations and insights for our careers as researchers. I am eager to participate in the next one, maybe next time, dealing with my fears and anxieties to present something (really scary!!!).

objETHOS entrevista Cláudia Nonato

Interesting to see this economic aspect of alternative media – or media of the outskirts – the term Claudia Nonato uses.
“We are past the ‘independence glamour’. Now it is an issue of survival.”


Produção e edição: Dairan Paul e Juliana Freire

O Observatório de Ética Jornalística inicia mais uma série de entrevistas com pesquisadores para discutir questões contemporâneas do jornalismo e suas implicações éticas. Deserto de notícias, uso de robôs nas rotinas produtivas, contribuições marxistas para uma prática contra-hegemônica e as relações do jornalismo com a democracia e os direitos humanos são alguns dos assuntos que pautaram as conversas.

A primeira entrevistada da série é Cláudia Nonato, professora do Mestrado Profissional em Jornalismo do FIAM-FAAM Centro Universitário, em São Paulo. Nonato também é pesquisadora do Centro de Pesquisa em Comunicação e Trabalho (CPCT-ECA/USP), coordenado pela profa. Dra. Roseli Figaro. Lá, desenvolve pesquisas sobre novos arranjos econômicos no jornalismo, especialmente aqueles organizados em coletivos.

Durante sua participação no 41º Congresso Brasileiro de Ciências da Comunicação (Intercom), em Joinville, Nonato apresentou dados da pesquisa que coordena atualmente no FIAM-FAAM, voltada ao perfil de jornalistas que…

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Techno optimism?

After all, no one can dispute that in the 20th century more advances were made in technology than in all the previous centuries put together. How, then, can we account for the fact that more people were slaughtered in the 20th century, including as many as ten million children, by wars and mayhem than in all the previous centuries? How can we account for the fact that the three most influential ideologies of the 20th century were Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, each of which reduced the significance of the human spirit so that people fled from them whenever they could? Is it not possible that behind the noon-day brightness of technological ingenuity there lurks something dark and sinister, something that casts a terrible shadow over the better angels of our nature?

Postman, N. (2000). The humanism of media ecology. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the Media Ecology Association.