OSINT x the Climate Emergency

Marta Silvia Viganò
4 min readNov 29, 2020
Photo by USGS on Unsplash

When I first started researching OSINT, I asked myself how open source intelligence could be used for Earth journalism. Why is it relevant? In short, because human beings have a moral duty to protect the environment that allows for their very own existence; because the environmental damage and destruction affect wildlife and species whose loss of natural habitat oftentimes results in the spillover of virus and diseases; because the climate change and environmental degradation go hand in gloves with the hazard to human life, as climate migrations and conflicts show.

Here you’ll find some of the investigations exposing environmental violence and injustice conducted by Forensic Architecture in the last years.

Oil and gas pollution in Vaca Muerta, Argentina

This investigation, published in 2019, sees Forensic Architecture partnering up with The Guardian as part of the series “The Polluters” to investigate the ongoing pollution and ecosystem loss and damage in Vaca Muerta, Argentina, one of the biggest fossil fuel extraction sites in the world.

Started out in 2013 with international oil and gas companies entering the territory, the fracking activity has soon revealed to be damaging the ecosystem and the freshwater. Not only, it soon started constituting a threat to the lifestyle of the native Mapuche people living in Campo Maripe, an area overlapping the Loma Campana oil field.

Based on footages from local activists, satellite images, 3D modeling and geolocation, many illegal activities were exposed. Among them, intentional fires against communal infrastructures monitoring the fracking activity; toxic byproducts stored in facilities not meeting the legal standard to avoid contamination of freshwater and endangering the health of local communities; oil spills leaking in the soil for more days.

The research:

The journalistic outputs:

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Marta Silvia Viganò

European and Italian digital reporter covering environment and human rights. Mundus Journalism student. #EMJ2021 #Y4R2020