In one of the richest natural environments in the world, a rare step is being taken to empower local people to protect it.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a land of incredible biodiversity, harboring more species per square kilometer than nearly anywhere else on Earth. PNG’s people, meanwhile, are heavily reliant on nature: Many live in remote villages on isolated islands or deep in mountain rainforests, disconnected from roads and electricity, surviving on food from their gardens and the skill of their hunters and fishers. About 80% of the country’s population relies on subsistence agriculture.
Despite its natural splendor, Papua New Guinea is often overlooked by conservation and aid organizations. Poor Internet connectivity and high levels of corruption have kept the country largely isolated from the world; when news does emerge in Western media about PNG, it’s rarely good.
These perceptions can overshadow why Papua New Guinea is such an important place to care for.