Mac Margolis profile background image
Mac Margolis profile image

Mac Margolis

Advisor and editor at Igarape Institute

Igarape Institute

Mac Margolis is an advisor and editor at Igarape Institute.

June 13, 2023

Brazil’s stewardship of the world’s largest tropical forest has long ignited acrimony. If frontier enthusiasts see billions of trees as speed bumps to wealth and progress, the Amazon’s defenders counter that neither is possible without a standing rainforest and the people who tend to it. They point to the global cooling service the Amazon renders by keeping all that carbon cached under the canopy.

So whenever Brasília shifts its Amazon policy, the blowback is swift and global. Such is the case of Constitutional bill PL490, which would reset the rules for delimiting Indigenous territory.

April 03, 2023

Tearing down the rainforest for short term gain is a time-honored racket.

Look no further than the lands of the Yanomami, the 30,000-strong indigenous community on the Brazil-Venezuela border who have the misfortune of living atop some of the most coveted alluvial gold deposits in the world. 

February 02, 2023

Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro may have lost his bid for re-election and fled to the United States, but don’t tell that to the loyal supporters he left. Four in 10 Brazilians still believe he beat Lula Inácio Lula da Silva, who was sworn into office on Jan 1. The same magical thinking propelled his most ardent acolytes to storm the Brazilian capital a week later in a pique of insurrection. Brazil’s new government is still picking up the pieces.

So how to explain the far-right’s denialist frenzy? No doubt, loser’s remorse and toxic polarization have roiled Latin America’s biggest nation, as they have in democracies just about everywhere. But perhaps nothing has done more to poison the public mood than the steady drip of web-enhanced fake news, intrigue, smears, cheap shots and outright fabrications which have seeped into the Brazilian body politic.