Brazil-based correspondent Chris Arsenault is coming to the UBC School of Journalism as the inaugural Visiting Journalist in Forestry Issues.
Arsenault brings to the School more than 10 years of journalism experience, reporting from more than 20 countries. As a foreign correspondent based in Rio de Janeiro for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the world’s largest news agency, he reports on land, forestry and resource development issues in Brazil.
“With the world’s largest tropical forest, Brazil had been making real progress in reducing illegal logging,” Arsenault said from Rio de Janeiro. “However as the country’s recession grinds on and the political class is paralyzed by corruption scandals the rate of deforestation is increasing again.”
“Most of the destruction of the Amazon is a result of illegal logging and I believe journalists can play an important role in exposing criminal behaviour and community successes in South America’s largest country.”
Arsenault will be at the School during the first two weeks of February to share in knowledge and expertise in reporting on forestry issues, including conservation challenges in the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous land rights and the relationship between deforestation and the cocaine industry. He will guest lecture in classes at UBC and meet with students.
“I am delighted to host a journalist of the calibre of Chris Arsenault on a pressing global issue which resonates locally,” said UBC Journalism director and associate professor, Alfred Hermida.
Arsenault will deliver a public talk on the future of conservation in the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest tropical forest, at UBC Robson on February 8. The talk is from 6.30 – 8.30 pm, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver. It is free but please RSVP.
“I look forward to engaging with journalists, forestry workers, experts, First Nations and students about what’s happening in British Columbia and how those experiences could translate to the Brazilian context.”
“I hope that bringing about attention to some of the successes and failures of the struggle to protect the Amazon can provide some insights to British Columbians.”
Before joining the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Arsenault was a senior producer with Al Jazeera English reporting on Latin American social justice issues and energy politics.
Arsenault was recognised for his reporting on food security issues by winning the Gold prize at the UN Correspondents Awards in 2015. He held the Wolfson Press Fellowship at Cambridge University and has a masters degree in environmental history from the University of British Columbia.
Arsenault is the author of two books, including Blowback: A Canadian History of Agent Orange and the War at Home.
The position is supported by a donation from a private foundation.