The world depends on rainforests for survival and protecting them has been an issue for decades. As a kid in the 90’s, 20th Century Fox released the animated film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest that was meant to inspire my generation to become environmental activists. Was it a success? If you watch the new ABC News documentary Guardians of the Amazon, sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Dan Harris and a film crew visit Brazil to follow the trials of the Guajajara tribe of indiginous peoples who live on what is supposed to be government protected land. However, illegal logging and man-made fires meant to force them out go almost unregulated in the Jair Bolsonaro regime, the country’s current president. The documentary refers to him as the “Trump of the tropics” with footage of him speaking at the United Nations over concerns about his rollback of rainforest protection policies and him referring to the events depicted in the documentary as “Fake news.”

The title of the ABC News special comes from the group Dan Harris shadows, who have armed themselves with hunting rifles and bows and arrows to do what the government won’t. They call themselves the “Guardians of the Forest” and they sneak up on illegal loggers in the middle of the night, taking prisoners and interrogating them to try and stop the destruction at the source. It’s a scary and serious situation with casualties on both sides.

The footage captured here is truly incredible, shining a spotlight on a situation that isn’t getting enough media attention. The Guajajara people just want to be left alone on their protected land, which doubles as a leading oxygen producer for the world. The documentary does a great job of narrating the situation and presenting subtitled footage of the life-threatening scenes that unfold.

While Guardians of the Amazon is an ABC News production, you won’t find it on a local ABC Station. Instead, it’s going to direct to streaming on ABC News Live, The Roku Channel, Hulu Live, Xumo, Sling TV, ABCNews.com, the ABC News and ABC mobile apps, and the ABC News app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. It premieres on February 14th at 8:00 pm and will be replayed throughout the weekend before becoming an on-demand option.

 
 

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