Environmental justice is a social movement

Kachin’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Booms in Post-Coup Free-for-All

Every September since he was a teenager, Zi Phong* has set off from his village in Kachin State’s northern Putao township with a month’s worth of rations and a single-shot tumi rifle on his back. Trekking through dense mountain forests, the Rawang hunter, now 49, sets steel traps every 6.5 to 8 kilometres (4 to 5 miles) and camps out along the way.

The hunting season, which lasts until the first snowfall around December, is grueling. For shelter, Zi Phong fastens a tent out of thin plastic shee

How the Kachin public overturned a rare earth mining project in KIO territory

Despite rising financial pressures to supply weapons and provide public services in its territory, the KIO cancelled a major business deal in response to protests from local communities trying to protect their land and environment.

This article was supported by the Pulitzer Center Rainforest Journalism Fund and is part of a about the coup’s impact on natural resource economies in Kachin State.

On April 15, in response to public protests, the Kachin Independence Organization controversial plans

In Kachin’s Icy Mountains, Search for Coveted Fungus Heats Up

Already under strain from overharvesting and habitat degradation, Myanmar’s cordyceps fungus industry has accelerated since COVID-19 and the coup, along with the perilous search for a rare orchid root.

In April 2019, when he was 16 years old, Hmone Ram began trekking deep into the snow-capped Hkakabo Razi mountains of Kachin State’s far north. Layering up in his warmest clothes, he stuffed a head-strap basket with blankets, plastic sheeting and dry food and set off from his native town of Putao

‘Afraid of the gun’: Military coup fuels Myanmar resource grab

A political crisis triggered by the military takeover makes life even more dangerous for those fighting to protect the environment.

Htu Seng has spent the past decade defending the land and environment of her native Kachin State but it was only after the military seized power in a coup in February 2021 that she began fearing for her life.

Forcibly relocated from her village near the river confluence known as Myitsone in 2011, to make way for a China-backed hydropower project that was suspended

Kachin public calls on KIO to address gold mining crisis

Unwilling to accept military rule, many in Kachin are looking to the Kachin Independence Organization to fill a void in governance. As the KIO strengthens its influence, it is facing mounting pressure to regulate environmentally destructive gold mining.

Bawk Nu* has spent the last 11 years dreaming of the day she could safely return to her village of Nam San Yang. She is one of more than 100,000 people who fled their homes following a resumption in fighting between the military and the armed wi

In the Wake of Coup, Gold Mining Boom Is Ravaging Myanmar

With a military junta retaking power last year, a gold rush is increasingly despoiling rivers in the Myanmar state of Kachin, polluting water with mercury, destroying riverbanks and farmland, and disrupting the traditional way of life of the region’s ethnic groups.

He traveled 60 miles west, passing through verdant forests, rice paddies, and small villages of bamboo houses. Reaching Bhamo, a town on the banks of the Irrawaddy, Myanmar’s longest river, he began mining gold and earning $4 per day

Kachin tycoon draws controversy over gold mining at Myitsone

Local people call for community leaders to do more to stop one of Kachin State’s most influential businessmen and his company from digging up and destroying land near the famed river confluence.

Sut Mai* started mining gold from the bank of Kachin State’s Mali River in 2013, when he was 18. He uses a shovel, generator-powered suction pipes, a sluice pan and a tray. “Local people have been mining gold for a long time, but it’s difficult and there’s not much profit,” he said.

He hails from Tang

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