Ep. 2: The Man and the Forest

In the second episode, hosts Graham and Jim explore the origin story of Chico Mendes. They explore the past of the rubber trade in the Amazon, the rubber tappers’ relationship with the forest, and their plight. 

More about the show:

In the second season of Wildfire, we’re shifting our perspective from fires in the forests of the American west to those taking place in the Amazon rainforest alongside a story of violence and heroism.

On December 22nd 1988 in the town of Xapuri, Brazil a man named Chico Mendes was shot and killed at his home. He was killed for trying to protect the rainforest from the fires that were burning at an increasing rate; fires that were turning one of the most complex ecosystems in the world into cow pastures.

 In this season of Wildfire, hosts Jim Aikman and Graham Zimmerman look into the story of Chico Mendes—who he was, what he was fighting for, and how his legacy lives on. It’s a story filled with intrigue and violence but also hope, both for the Amazon and for humankind. 

This 6-part series is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Episode sources:

  • Hecht, Susanna, and Alexander Cockburn. The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon. University of Chicago Press, 2010.
  • Revkin, Andrew. The Burning Season: the Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest. Island Press, 2004.
  • Rodrigues, Gomercindo, et al. Walking the Forest with Chico Mendes: Struggle for Justice in the Amazon. University of Texas Press, 2007.
  • Mendes, Chico, et al. Fight for the Forest: Chico Mendes in his Own Words. Latin America Bureau (Research and Action) Ltd, 1989.
  • Mann, Charles C. 1491 (Second Edition): New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. 2nd ed., Random House LLC, 2005.
  • Shoumatoff, Alex. “Murder in the Rainforest.” Vanity Fair, 1989.
  • “Making a Difference : Chico Mendes . . .” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 22 Jan. 1989, www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1989-01-22-op-1186-story.html.
  • Mendes, Francisco. “Antihero.” Spin, September 1989, page 76-78.

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