Wasteland Discussion Questions

Why is the Association of Pickers of Jardim Gramacho so largely unknown in Brazil?

– At the beginning of the documentary, it explains why the pickers and the work they do are so unknown by the rest of Brazil through the words of the pickers themselves.  They explain how the people of Brazil don’t understand the importance of recycling, and how they believe it isn’t worth their time.  Additionally, the people of the association tend to be outcasts of society, to the rest of Brazil places the Pickers below them.  It is rather interesting that by being outcasts and working with the trash of Brazilians in nearby cities, no matter their social class, they have almost created their own social class below all others.  For this reason, the people of Brazil are unaware of the Pickers or don’t want to be.

Did the production of the Wasteland documentary positively affect the lives of the Pickers?

– It is hard to tell from an American perspective if the documentary actually changed the lives of the pickers like Muniz intended to do.  Personally, I had never heard of the Association of Pickers of Jardim Gramacho, and that is rather significant with all the environmental classes I have taken.  I would think such a great effort to recycle by hand instead of by a factory would be talked about.  Though the association’s presence doesn’t seem to have been increased here in America, it is very possible that it did to the people of Brazil.  If this were the case, I think it would at least benefit the lives of the pickers by a small margin.