The Amazon rainforest has faced encroachment and deforestation for a long time. But it wasn’t until Brazil’s military dictatorship came to power in the 1970s that deforestation spiked, becoming a big business in the Amazon. When that expansion reached the state of Acre, it met resistance. Chico Mendes, a rubber tapper from the region, took the fight to protect the Amazon from the depths of the rainforest to the global stage. In the process, he gave his life — but the fight he started lives on.
To understand the history of the Amazon and how Chico Mendes changed the course of that history, watch the video above. It’s the second episode of a three-part Vox Atlas series on the Amazon.