Brazil has abundant low-cost energy, but by the time it reaches the consumer it is one of the most expensive in the world. This contradiction hinders the country's human and economic development and the “solutions” found have actually aggravated the problem.
Acaba Mundo has fallen into oblivion, despite its apocalyptic name – which roughly translates as World’s End - and historical importance as an urban waterway. It is a typical victim of Brazil’s metropolises, which were turned into cemeteries of streams, with their flooded neighborhoods and filthy rivers.
Brazil had the dubious distinction of champion of maternal mortality in Latin America during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 77 percent increase in such deaths between 2019 and 2021.
The southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais owes its name to the main economic activity throughout its history: mining – of gold since the 17th century and later iron ore, which took on an industrial scale with massive exports in the 20th century.
"We do everything through parties, we don't want power, we don't want to take over the role of the State, but we don't just protest and complain," said Itamar de Paula Santos, a member of the United Community Council for Ribeiro de Abreu
(Comupra), in this southeastern Brazilian city.
"I like lettuce, but not tomatoes and cucumbers," said nine-year-old Paulo Henrique da Silva de Jesus, a third grader at the João Baptista Caffaro Municipal School in the southeastern Brazilian city of Itaboraí.
The Theater of the Oppressed helped her become aware of the triple discrimination suffered by black women in Brazil and the means to confront it, such as the Rio de Janeiro Domestic Workers Union, which she has chaired since 2018.
"Woman, poor, black and illiterate" - most domestic workers suffer quadruple discrimination in Brazil, which made them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, says one of their leaders, Gloria Rejane Santos.
With its accelerated growth agriculture has emerged as a key sector of Brazil's economy, but it is failing on its own to spread prosperity and reduce poverty and inequality, with industry in decline.
People living in Jardim Pantanal, a low-income neighborhood on the east side of the Brazilian megalopolis of São Paulo, suffer floods every southern hemisphere summer. Many residents remember the three months their streets and homes were under water in late 2009 and early 2010.
Nothing is wasted from sugarcane, one can conclude from the biomethane production process at the Cocal plant, a Brazilian company that produces sugar, ethanol, electricity and other by-products from sugarcane agro-industrial waste.
First came sugar. For four centuries, it was the main sugarcane product in Brazil. But since the 1970s sugarcane has grown and diversified as a source of energy: ethanol, electricity and biogas.
The Brazilian megalopolis of São Paulo recorded 932 flooded premises on Feb. 10, 2020. The Mexican city of Tula de Allende was under water for 48 hours in September 2021. In Lima it almost never rains, but the rivers in the Peruvian capital overflowed in 2017 and left several outlying municipalities covered with mud.
For three weeks, the Brazilian government concealed the fact that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest increased by nearly 22 percent last year, accentuating a trend that threatens to derail efforts to curb global warming.
The number of victims of serious burns, some fatal, has increased in Brazil. Without money to buy cooking gas, the price of which rose 30 percent this year, many poor families resort to ethanol and people are injured in household accidents.
Basic sanitation, a sector that is undervalued because, according to politicians, it does not bring in votes, has gained relevance in Brazil due to the pandemic that has hit the poor especially hard and the drought that threatens millions of people.
As most of the world seeks to modify its energy mix to mitigate climate change, Brazil has also been forced to do so to adapt to the climate crisis whose effects are being felt in the country due to the scarcity of rainfall.
The sea of soybeans that sprouts every November will spread even further in the state of Mato Grosso if three new railway lines that would boost soy production in central-western Brazil and growing parts of the Amazon rainforest are built.
Twenty years after the blackout that prompted nine months of rationing to keep the power grid from collapsing, Brazil may see a repeat of the traumatic situation, this time with a more obvious climate change undertone.
Health, fiscal, environmental and political crises have not prevented Brazil from attracting private capital to expand infrastructure, according to the sector's minister, Tarcísio de Freitas.
"Rainfall is fundamental; the streams and rivers we have would not suffice for irrigation, even if they were the Amazon River," said Dirceu Dezem, referring to the amount of water required for the extensive crops in Brazil’s midwest.