"Slave labour is not declining; it has taken on new forms and is growing; it expanded to new sectors where it did not previously exist," said Ivanete da Silva Sousa, an activist in the fight against modern-day slavery in northern Brazil.
Fomenting biogas production among agricultural producers may seem at first glance to be a distraction from the purpose of Itaipu, the giant hydroelectric power plant shared by Brazil and Paraguay, but in fact it is part of their energy business strategy.
Fifteen years ago, Sattamma – a daily labourer in the Rangareddy district of southern India’s Telangana state – was abandoned by her husband after she was diagnosed with Hansen’s Disease.
"They called me crazy" for fencing in the area where the cows went to drink water, said Elias Cardoso, on his 67-hectare farm in Extrema, a municipality 110 km from São Paulo, Brazil's largest metropolis.
"Biogas is the best energy, it has no contraindications," and if you combine it with solar it becomes "the best energy business," at least in Brazil, says Anélio Thomazzoni.
The state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil is the largest national producer and exporter of pork and this year it also leads in exports of chicken, of which it is the second-biggest producer in the country.
Biogas has the potential to provide 36 percent of the electricity consumed in Brazil or replace 70 percent of diesel if purified as biomethane, according to the Brazilian Association of Biogas and Biomethane (Abiogas).
August is the month of major political crises in Brazil, but no one suspected that an environmental issue would be the trigger for the storms threatening the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, just eight months into his term.
Romário Schaefer is fattening up 3,300 pigs that he receives when they weigh around 22 kg and returns when they reach 130 to 160 kg - a huge increase in meat and profits for their owner, a local meat-processing plant in this city in Brazil.
Pigs, already the main source of income in this small municipality in southwestern Brazil, now have even more value as a source of electricity.
“The ambulance team refused to take my sick friend to the hospital because he had had Hanseniasis years before," said Yohei Sasakawa, president of the Nippon Foundation, at one of the meetings held during his Jul. 1-10 visit to Brazil.
Yohei Sasakawa has dedicated half of his 80 years of life to combating the "disease of silence" and is still fighting the battle, as president of the Nippon Foundation and World Health Organisation (WHO) goodwill ambassador for elimination of leprosy, formally known as Hansen's Disease.
When cases of Hansen's disease, better known as leprosy, increase in Brazil, it is not due to a lack of medical assistance but to the growing efficacy of the health system in detecting infections, contrary to the situation in other countries.
A large steel wheel, 14 meters in diameter and 1.3 meters wide, could be the energy solution of the near future, generating 3.5 megawatts - enough to supply a city of 30,000 people, according to a company in the capital city of the state of Amazonas in northwest Brazil.
Two military-inspired initiatives are leading Brazil's new government, which includes a number of generals, down the path of mega-projects, which have had disastrous results in the last four decades.
Designed mostly by men, many digital applications are not suitable for women, but some initiatives are beginning to include them as programmers and beneficiaries in Latin America, where the gender gap is also technological.
Crime, a key issue in far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's election in Brazil, has a dimension that is gaining in visibility and could turn against his government: gender violence.
“We can’t work just to pay the electric bill,” complained José Hilario dos Santos, president of the Residents Association of Morro de Santa Marta, a favela or shantytown embedded in Botafogo, a traditional middle-class neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.
"We have already been decimated and subjected, and we have been victims of the integrationist policy of governments and the national state," said indigenous leaders, as they rejected the new Brazilian government’s proposals and measures focusing on indigenous peoples.
"Solar energy makes my happiness complete," said Divina Cardoso dos Santos, owner of one of 740 houses with photovoltaic panels on the rooftops in a settlement on the outskirts of this central Brazilian city.
The government that will take office on Jan. 1 in Brazil, presided over by Jair Bolsonaro, will put to the test the extreme right in power, with beliefs that sound anachronistic and a management based on a direct connection with the public.