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Episode 2

Simon visits Brazil, the biggest country on the continent. He starts in one of the remotest regions of the Amazon, with the Waiapi people, who cling on to their traditional way of life, which is under threat from logging and mining interests. The tribal leaders argue that preserving the forest is not only crucial to moderating the Earth's climate; they are working with Brazilian scientists to show how the Amazon can be managed to produce valuable crops and lifesaving medicines, without destroying the environment. At this point, in early 2020, Simon's journey was interrupted by the Covid pandemic, and he returns two years later to see how Brazil became one of the countries worst hit by the virus. In Manaus, the city at the heart of the Amazon, he visits a neglected indigenous neighbourhood and meets the nurse who was the only source of healthcare during the pandemic. On the outskirts of Manaus, where the Amazon jungle meets the city, he catches bats with a veterinary scientist who is hoping to identify potential future pandemics, before they enter the human population. Simon ends this leg of his journey on the west coast of Brazil, in the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro, a city under threat from climate change, vulnerable to flash floods and baking heat. The government has built a high-tech NASA-style control room to monitor all parts of the city for potential disasters. And in one favela, Simon meets the woman who has planted an urban forest to cool her neighbourhood, as well as to grow fresh food for many of the neglected children.

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