Profiles in Regeneration: Matthew, 21, Brazil
Communication is one of nature’s greatest gifts.
Young people all around the world are working to build a regenerative future. At 21, Matthew Lopes is one of those people. He wants to create a media platform and podcast where journalists positively engage with marginalized communities and give them a platform.
Regenerative Futures: How are you feeling right now?
Matthew Lopes: Hopeful for the future yet utterly puzzled at how things change.
RF: What’s a secret your search history can tell us about you?
ML: Recently, I’ve been laboriously reading about mushrooms and how we asserted which are edible or not back when they were being discovered. Because you never know when you’re going to get lost in the woods and forage for food, right?
RF: What are you reading/learning about at the moment?
ML: About how a journalist’s work can be illegal if it damages one’s social respectability, and how the altercations on social media can easily turn into legal cases.
RF: Who is your favorite human and why?
ML: The first person that comes to mind is Mark Horn. Mark created the first Pride Parade of New York back in 1969. Last year I interviewed him for a news report in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn events. And one the the things he wanted to say to young queer people was the phrase, “Don’t take your rights for granted—you have to battle for them. Be vigilant but happy along the way.” His remarks haven’t left me since, especially given that we’re living through a year of questioning power dynamics and individual awakening.
RF: Which key moment inspired you to start your project?
ML: My project, the podcast It Belongs to the People, is a result of many deceptions within mainstream journalism. As a journalism student, I felt discouraged when told that my experiences couldn’t be part of what I was working on, since journalists are meant to be distant from stories. But instead of falling out of love with this career just because it’s not as welcoming toward emotional intelligence as it should be, I decided to create a space where different voices could interact with each other—resonating with and echoing each other’s narratives, resulting in a kind of journalism that is made by and for the people.
RF: In two years’ time, what would success with your project look like?
ML: It would mean reaching people from as many different walks of life as possible, whether that’s in terms of class, gender, ability, age, or nationality. I always want to explore narratives that aren’t only from the Western world. I hope to widen the perspective that exists in journalism.
RF: If you could focus a large percentage of government funding on one industry or project for the next five to ten years, which would you choose and why?
ML: Definitely on renewable sources of energy, given the factual evidence presented over the years about how our planet is being drained with no payback. Of course, there are loads of other issues regarding how we profit off of nature, but I believe if we could invest more money and research in renewable energy, starting with lessons about it in schools, it would be a big leap overall.
RF: What is the best and worst thing about the education system in your country?
ML: The best thing would that the education system — if you can pay — is that it’s diverse when studying social, historical, and political subjects. But the worst thing is that education in Brazil only reaches its full potential in the private sectors when we are assessing primary and secondary school. In regards to higher education, both private and public schools are well regarded, but once again most of those students come from backgrounds that propel them to achieve higher marks on the application processes.
RF: Do you have a message for anyone your age living in the year 2060?
ML: Communication is one of nature’s greatest gifts. Without the ability to communicate with others, you wouldn’t be able to name the idea of collective progress — regardless of how it’s being represented — which hopefully is where you are now. So continue to preserve and enrich this unique ability.
RF: What inspires or frightens you most about the future?
ML: What inspires me is how young people are a major part of much-needed social reforms. Paradoxically, what frightens me is how people have reacted to the participation of young people in places where we are not invited, such as politics and civil movements, and how we have a long battle ahead of us. But there’s no change without discomfort.
RF: Regeneration is…
To learn more about Regenerative List finalist Matthew Lopes, click here.