The mayor of Cocachacra take me to the controversial mine copper mine site that he and 3,000 farmers have been battling to a stalemate since 2009. Photo by Enrique Ortiz
The name of my project for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is:
Saving Eden: Francis Exerts His Moral Authority. “Latin America’s first pope derides our “throw-away” culture while offering a stern prescription for environmental protection. Will those who revere him in his native region follow his lead?”
I explain the background and premise of my project in this video, which was shot on location in Peru and edited by Michael Frierson, professor of film at UNC-Greensboro, It turned out really well, with assistance from Enrique Ortiz and Emilia Catanoso.
Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and environmental protection. Released at the Vatican in June 2015. Photo by Justin Catanoso
In early May, Jon Sawyer, founder and executive director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, asked me to take on a special assignment. He believed it was tailor-made for me. The topic: Pope Francis’ upcoming already-controversial encyclical, or Catholic, teaching document on climate change and environment protection. The premise: how is the document being received in Latin American, the popular pope’s home region. I was honored to accept the assignment.
After being able to cover the Vatican press conference on June 18 while in Rome with my Wake Forest travel writing students, I traveled to Peru twice during the summer — a total of three weeks — to report the story. I was joined by incredible professionals such as guide and consultant Enrique Ortiz, fixer Aldo Villanueava, photographer Jason Houston, and for two weeks, my daughter Emilia Catanoso, who was my first photographer.