Our summers are breaking heat records, and they will continue to do so. In large parts of the world, persistent droughts, water shortages, desertification and floods are claiming millions of victims. Climate change causes armed conflicts, is a cause of migration and an outflow of refugees and puts international balances and power relations under pressure.

In our opening paper we are taking you to indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado savanna. Brazils indigenous tribes are being smoked out, literally. The dramatic deforestation in Latin America’s largest economy is undoubtedly one of the most important climate topics of 2019. Why you too, as well as the indigenous peoples, will feel the impact, is explained in this multimedia longread. This is also due to European leaders and companies, who can be blamed for more than just being guilty by omission. Here you can watch the documentary that we made for the Belgian public broadcaster VRT, with English subtitles.

At The Polar Project it’s important to us that you enjoy our stories. And no, we’re not being cynical. Urgency isn’t an excuse for a creative drought. Storytelling about climate change can be appealing.

Interactivity between journalism, art and the stage pushes us to explore the boundaries of journalistic storytelling. Our journalistic investigations are not limited to television, radio and press work. For our opening paper, Flemish poet Charlotte Van den Broeck and visual artist Jana Coorevits went to work. Van den Broeck's hypnotic verses can be heard in the VR documentary Amazons 360°. With VR glasses, you’ll find yourself standing for 7 minutes between thousands of protesting indigenous people and in endangered indigenous villages in the Amazon forest. This is what 250 visitors experienced at our launch on the 30th of September at De Centrale in Ghent, alongside performances by Brazilian and Belgian musicians and artists.

Contact us at jan@polarproject.be to become a partner of The Polar Project, so that we can bring these stories to an international audience together. 

Jan De Deken
Jan De Deken

Jan De Deken (1985) has been traveling the world since 2010, searching for remarkable, impactful stories. He worked as a freelance correspondent in Rio de Janeiro and has produced journalistic investigations and documentaries in 40 countries, for the Belgian public broadcaster VRT, and Belgian and Dutch news magazines such as Knack, Vrij Nederland and De Groene Amsterdammer.

In April 2018, his book ‘Milk, honey, kerosene’ was published by Em. Querido Publisher (in Dutch). In this non-fiction novel Jan searches for what it is that makes people (un)happy in different cultures and life circumstances. Realizing that personal wellbeing can't flourish in an unhealthy environment, Jan founded The Polar Project to build a constructive, futureproof story on socio-ecological consciousness.