As the global environmental crisis becomes more acute — climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, and resource scarcity — many citizens are employing bold tactics to pressure their governments to act, including direct non-violent action, boycotts, and large-scale protests. But a number of governments, especially those with a deep financial stake in the status quo, have reacted by trying to muzzle citizen groups and NGOs. They’ve passed laws to shut down activist NGOs, increase fines and jail time for protesters, and revoke the tax status of environmental charities. Environmentalists have also faced persecution and even murder by business interests. As climate change worsens — amid rising populations and dwindling resources — it’s likely these tensions will only become more acute. Stories in this series will ask: why and where are governments and other interests muzzling environmental activists and groups and how can the environmental movement respond?


• Specific cases of activists silenced or harmed by government or business interests.
• What are the drivers that are causing more and more governments, even so-called developed ones, to target environmental activists and groups?
• Do countries where environmental groups are targeted have anything in common?
• Does targeting environmental groups and activists constitute civil rights violations or undercut global efforts to strengthen human rights?
• How can environmental activists and NGOs effectively move against crackdowns on their civil liberties and attempts to muzzle their voices?
• How might this crackdown on environmental groups impact the ability of global society to respond to issues such as climate change and resource scarcity?
• How is the international community—i.e. other nations, the UN—responding to this trend? Is it even on their radar?

We welcome proposals from experienced journalists for reported stories. Opinion pieces will not be considered.

Mongabay will negotiate all fees and contracts on a per-story basis. Completed stories will be paid between $.10 and $.25 per word, depending on the journalist’s experience, and will be published on under an open Creative Commons license that allows for sharing and re-posting. We will also offer a bonus to journalists who proactively get their stories republished in major third-party print media outlets and on sites that draw more than 100,000 unique visitors per month. Small sums are available to help defray travel costs.

Please submit your Endangered Environmentalists pitch here, along with your journalism resume. Pitches should be roughly 500 words in length. They should clearly explain the specific subject you would like to write about and your approach to covering it, describe a few potential sources, and tell whether you believe any travel funding would be necessary to complete the project.

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