The engine started, the propeller began spinning, and with a high whine the drone shot into the air—before quickly crashing to the ground. It took a few more tries before the drone flew straight, but when it did, it soared into the azure skies above southern Guyana’s grasslands, and the small crew on the ground cheered. The homemade drone zipped toward a mountain range in the distance, transmitting live video and photos as it flew.
Guyana doesn’t often make the headlines. But this tiny country of 735,000 people, perched atop Brazil, has an outsize resource: the world’s second highest percentage of rainforest cover. However, these lands are under threat of deforestation and pollution by wildcat gold mining and logging operations.