Project September 12, 2019

The Tipping Point

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Katicá Karipuna, the matriarch of the Karipuna people, fears the tribe’s lands will be taken from them by force. Image by Sebastián Liste. Brazil, 2019.
Katicá Karipuna, the matriarch of the Karipuna people, fears the tribe’s lands will be taken from them by force. Image by Sebastián Liste. Brazil, 2019.

The Amazon rainforest absorbs vast amounts of the carbon dioxide that the world produces at accelerating rates. But this ecosystem is on the verge of a tipping point at 20-25 percent deforestation when most of the original forest would die. Currently, around 17 percent is gone and temperature rises could mean the rest all but disappears this century. Such a dieback could have serious consequences for global warming.

With the help of cutting-edge augmented reality technology, TIME gives the most detailed and immersive look yet at the ecological and human factors that are threatening the Amazon's existence. The reporting team speaks to the tribal leaders who depend on the forest, the ranchers making a living from it, and the tycoons committed to exploiting it for material gain. And the team identifies the most pressing threats to the remaining forest, both environmental and political. 

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