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(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

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Miners at a riverbank site in the Amazon. Maria Rodriguez

By Marlene Cimons

Last summer, scientist Maria Rodriguez traveled to the Peruvian region of Madre de Dios, once the home of lush rainforests, meandering rivers and thriving wildlife. But her destination was anything but picturesque. She'd come to study several sites ravaged by illegal gold mining that had left a legacy of destruction and mercury poisoning. One area, in fact, resembled a lunar landscape, rather than a rainforest.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A demonstrator waves an Ecuadorian flag during protests against the end of subsidies to gasoline and diesel on Oct. 9 in Quito, Ecuador. Jorge Ivan Castaneira Jaramillo / Getty Images

The night before Indigenous Peoples' Day, an Indigenous-led movement in Ecuador won a major victory.

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Climate activists demonstrate against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Barcelona on Aug. 23. LLUIS GENE / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In an open letter to Brazilian society and right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, a group of experts warned that a "genocide is underway" against uncontacted tribes because of Bolsonaro's efforts to strip away Indigenous peoples' rights and lands and open up more of the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness and mining.

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The Bingham Canyon open-pit copper mine in Utah has operated since 1903. David Guthrie, CC BY 2.0

By Matthew Ross

Modern society relies on metals like copper, gold and nickel for uses ranging from medicine to electronics. Most of these elements are rare in Earth's crust, so mining them requires displacing vast volumes of dirt and rock. Hard rock mining – so called because it refers to excavating hard minerals, not softer materials like coal or tar sands – generated $600 billion in revenues worldwide in 2017.

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Brazilians living in The Netherlands organized a demonstration in solidarity with rainforest protectors and against the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro on Sept. 1 in The Hague, Netherlands. Romy Arroyo Fernandez / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Tara Smith

Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have jumped 84 percent during President Jair Bolsonaro's first year in office and in July 2019 alone, an area of rainforest the size of Manhattan was lost every day. The Amazon fires may seem beyond human control, but they're not beyond human culpability.

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A defunct coal-fired power station near Johnson City, New York. DUNCAN RAWLINSON / Flickr

By Elana Sulakshana

It seems like every day there is a new story of a pipeline spilling crude oil or an oil refinery exploding. How do fossil fuel companies continue to operate such hazardous infrastructure in communities despite the immediate and long-term harm they cause? One piece of the answer is the coverage and financial support they get from insurance companies.

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Handout picture released by the Colombian presidency showing Colombian President Ivan Duque (2-L) speaking next to Bolivian President Evo Morales (L) and in front of Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo (2-R) and Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno (R), during a meeting with Indigenous leaders before the Presidential Summit for the Amazon at the National University in Leticia, department of Amazonas, Colombia, on Sept. 6. NICOLAS GALEANO / AFP / Getty Images

Seven Amazon countries signed a pact Friday to protect the world's largest tropical rainforest in response to the record-breaking number of wildfires that have blazed through the Amazon rainforest this summer, Reuters reported.

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A sow and her cubs at Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the planet's largest intact temperate rainforest. Forest Service Alaska

By Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open Alaska's 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest — the planet's largest intact temperate rainforest — to logging and other corporate development projects, a move that comes as thousands of fires are ripping through the Amazon rainforest and putting the "lungs of the world" in grave danger.

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Francia Márquez told Earthjustice that "humanity's greatest challenge is to either work together to preserve this planet or destroy it."

Earthjustice

By Robert Valencia

In April 2018, Afro-Colombian activist Francia Márquez won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, thanks to her work to retake her community's ancestral territories from illegal gold mining. However, her international recognition comes at a very risky price.

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A Waiapi man looks at a boy picking fruits from a Geninapo tree at the Waiapi indigenous reserve in Amapa state in Brazil on Oct. 13, 2017. APU GOMES / AFP / Getty Images

Gold miners invaded indigenous territory in Brazil's Amazon, killing one leader and prompting villagers to flee for safety, The New York Times reported Saturday.

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