18 Jun 2019 Press release Environmental rights and governance

TV’s first-ever environmental thriller “Aruanas” pleads with us to take care of the Amazon Rainforest

18 June 2019 – “Aruanas”, an original production by Latin America’s biggest media company, Globo, co-produced by Maria Farinha Films, tells the story of four women’s fight against the odds to protect virgin forest and indigenous lands from the ravages of illegal mining and corruption.

The Amazon Rainforest is the planet’s water reservoir and air conditioner. Its survival requires an end to illegal deforestation, illegal mining, the contamination of rivers and the violation of indigenous rights, all of which threaten a biome on which we all depend.

The first-ever production of its kind, Aruanas is a creative attempt to reach millions of consumers of entertainment content who are currently disengaged from the crisis facing the Amazon and many other ecologically vulnerable parts of our planet. A celebration of female strength, heroism and determination in a time of deadly environmental destruction and the widespread violation of human rights, Aruanas hopes to inspire others to use entertainment to mobilise environmental action and influence behavioral change. The series writers are Marcos Nisti and Estela Rener.

Globo and Maria Farinha Films are organising two pre-screenings in London and New York on June 18th and 24th respectively, with a media roundtable featuring, among others, series writer and leading Brazilian actress, Taís Araújo, who stars in the production. All media are encouraged to attend. 

The series

With 10 45-minute long episodes, Aruanas tells the story of four women leading an NGO that investigates urgent socio-environmental threats. The first season takes place in the Amazon rainforest and explores crimes based on real events, such as Illegal mining, which – through the use of mercury and other heavy metals to obtain gold – have caused irreparable health issues to the local population, as well as the struggle of indigenous people, and the environment. Mining is still a major cause of deforestation, and territorial disputes between miners and the native nations frequently end with blood and violence.

The plot

Inspired by true events, including a whistleblower report, Aruanas investigates the activities of the mining company KM, in the fictional city of Cari, in the Amazon region, where people are mysteriously becoming ill. Businessman and owner of KM, Miguel Kiriakos, is a philanthropist, held in high regard by the local community. Protagonists Verônica, Luiza, Natalie and Clara (a newly hired intern) attempt to balance their personal lives with their activism.  


As part of a democratic and inclusive distribution process, Aruanas will be launched in 150 countries with an independent distribution platform powered by Vimeo, where anyone can buy the series through a PayPal account, for $12.90. From July to October, 50 per cent of all net sales will be donated to an initiative that protects the Amazon Rainforest. Selected members around the world will receive the series in first hand, free of charge, with the aim of reaching an audience of multipliers able to advocate for the Amazon rainforest.

The series will be released on July 2nd and subtitled in eleven languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Turkish and Korean.

In Brazil, Aruanas will be released on Globo’s streaming platform, Globoplay, on July 2nd. The first episode will be shown on July 3rd at TV Globo, the broadcast channel that reaches 100 million people every day.

Call to action

The series supports the Environment Rights Initiative, led by UN Environment, which seeks to promote respect for environmental rights and greater protections for environmental defenders. Aruanas also carries a worldwide call to action: “Care for the Amazon”. The campaign was co-created by environmental and human rights organizations including Greenpeace, WWF-Brazil, Amnesty International, Open Society, Global Witness and 350 org with support from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Entertainment is a powerful tool to engage people, generate awareness to the Amazon rainforest, and solidarity for activism,” says Bunny McDermid, International Executive Director of Greenpeace.



About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

For more information contact

Niamh Brannigan, Communication Officer, UN Environment

Roberta Perri, Press Relations, Fernanda Thompson Strategies