1st Prize Stories, Environment

04 October 2020

Lalo de Almeida, Brazil

Panos Pictures, for Folha de São Paulo

Pantanal Ablaze

Nearly a third of Brazil’s Pantanal region—the world’s largest tropical wetland and flooded grasslands—was consumed by fires over the course of 2020. The Pantanal, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve and is one of Brazil’s most important biomes, is suffering its worst drought in nearly 50 years, causing fires to spread out of control. Many of the fires started from slash-and-burn farming, which has become more prevalent due to the weakening of conservation regulation and enforcement under President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration.

This reportage drives home the brutality of how we treat livestock. It is hard to look at, it is hard to admit that we are complicit. These photographs needed to be made, and they need to be seen. These are photographs that have the power to drive change.

Kathy Moran, General Jury member

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