Americas Quarterly’s Issue Looks at Sustainable Development in the Amazon


Americas Quarterly’s New Issue Looks at How Development in the Amazon Can Be Sustainable—and Viable

The magazine’s digital issue and related events present new initiatives that can responsibly harness the rainforest’s resources to the benefit of its 35 million inhabitants without resorting to deforestation.

New York, NY, May 12 — “The idea of sustainable development tends to generate skepticism, and with good reason,” write Americas Quarterly’s (AQ) editors in the magazine’s latest issue, out Wednesday, which spotlights sustainable development in the Amazon. But development, he writes, when done right—even in unexpected sectors like mining—could also hold the key to preserving the rainforest and breaking endemic cycles of poverty and unemployment: “Governments, companies and civil society should work together to help build a virtuous circle, in which Amazon communities see the value of the forest, work to preserve it, and benefit directly from its bounty.” The issue looks at how Brazil and neighboring countries could become so-called “green superpowers” by harnessing the rainforest’s natural wealth: “a model in which the standing Amazon forest is treated as one-of-a-kind, priceless economic asset, rather than an obstacle to progress,” writes Winter. “Such business, if managed the right way, could generate millions of green jobs inside and outside the region.”

The issue presents case studies of viable projects that could improve and expand supply chains and logistics, agricultural exports, and even glaucoma treatments. These projects illustrate how new technologies allow the forest’s natural wealth to be better used for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and foods like cocoa, açai, and fish. These concepts could help markets potentially become worth billions of dollars a year—especially to the degree they prove to be scalable.

Juliano Assunção, Cecilia Tornaghi, Beto Verissimo, and Brian Winter explain what the 450-pound pirarucu, which features on the issue's cover, can tell us about sustainable development in the Amazon.

A series of op-eds discuss what it’ll take for sustainable development to become a reality. Teresa Vendramini from Sociedade Rural Brasileira provides the view of the big players in the agribusiness sector, who also want sustainable development. Elza Fátima Rodrigues, the new anti-racist coordinator for the City of Belém, connects the dots between environmental stewardship and the real-life effects it has on the Amazon’s Afro-Brazilian communities. Flávio Dino, governor of Maranhão and head of the Coalition of Amazon States, lays out the public sector’s mission to attract investors and develop a sustainable economy for the region.

The issue will be accompanied by related events, including the panel and virtual launch on May 27 “Making Sustainable Development a Reality in the Amazon,” with Bemol, Brazilian Rural Society, and Imazon. Learn more about the related events.

The special edition will be published entirely online at on Wednesday, May 12. View the PDF.

Press inquiries: To learn more, to request interviews with the authors, or to request a republication permission, please contact:

AS/COA Media Relations at

Americas Quarterly is an award-winning publication dedicated to politics, business, and culture in the Americas. Borrowing elements from The Economist, Foreign Affairs, and National Geographic—but with a focus on Latin America—AQ is dedicated to covering the region in all its diversity and promise. AQ's elite, agenda-setting readership includes CEOs, senior government officials, and thought leaders, as well as a general-interest audience passionate about the Americas. Launched in 2007 and based in New York City, AQ is an independent publication of Americas Society/Council of the Americas, which for more than 50 years have been dedicated to dialogue in our hemisphere.