Environment

Indigenous, accompanied by church, fight for rights in Amazon rainforest

The railroad runs more than 550 miles through 27 communities in the Brazilian Amazon. It runs so close to people's homes that the houses have cracked, and some people have hearing loss.

The trains carry minerals out of the rainforest to the coast. But the tracks separate families from their schools, health centers and fields and, sometimes, the trains stop on the tracks.

A wall in their river: Flooded Ngäbe communities continue to fight dam

The Barro Blanco dam: Despite years of fierce resistance, the dam on the Tabasará River has submerged indigenous homes, farms and sacred sites. To local communities and environmentalists, the hydroelectric project has become a symbol of everything wrong with Panama's model of development.
Related - Washington hearing is activists' last hope in battle over Panama dam

Appalachian coal country, where sisters see little change in 40 years

When Notre Dame de Namur Sr. Kathleen O'Hagan and St. Joseph Sr. Gretchen Shaffer arrived in Mingo County in 1976, nearly everyone was economically poor. Though four decades have passed since the pastoral letter by the Appalachian bishops, the region's underlying problem has not changed. Standards of living are higher, regulations have made coal mining cleaner, and unions have turned coal mining into safer, well-paying jobs, but the people still have little voice.