George Monbiot is an investigative journalist who has been researching, naming and exposing the perpetrators of environmental destruction and abuses of indigenous peoples' rights.
From 1985, he produced Britain's first investigative environmental programmes for the BBC Natural History Unit. His broadcasts (in particular those exposing the shipping agents who deliberately scuppered a bulk carrier off the Irish Coast, causing a local environmental catastrophe and reports tracing a chimpanzee smuggling network back to the head of customs in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire) precipitated major news stories. George Monbiot uncovered a tiger skin smuggling network operating between Indonesia and Singapore. He wrote "Poisoned Arrows", in which he thoroughly investigated the destruction of rainforest and wetland habitats and the dispossession of indigenous people in Irian Jaya (which with Papua once formed the island of New Guinea).
His erudite description of the various tribes and their beliefs was acclaimed by critics. He worked in the Brazilian Amazon and exposed the landlords expelling peasants. He also denounced the illegal trade in mahogany between Brazil and Britain tracing timber cut in indigenous reserves to the furniture restoration department of Buckingham Palace. As a consequence the Royal Family pledged in 1994 that it would only use tropical wood from sustainable sources.
With his book Amazon Watershed, which won the Sir Peter Kent Award for conservation writing, his report "Mahogany is Murder" and the documentary film "Your Furniture, Their Lives", he launched an international campaign against the illegal mahogany trade, now adopted by over 120 environmental groups, leading to a 55 per cent reduction of mahogany sales in Britain.
He also founded the Forest Network to coordinate the advocacy campaign. His commitment to the protection of the environment went as far as taking personal risks. More than once, George Monbiot was captured by gunmen and beaten up by security guards, left with facial injuries and broken bones. Monbiot is also the author of a book on East Africa's environment entitled No Man's Land.