Watch part two
In the heart of the Amazon rainforest, up to 15,000 miners are illegally devastating the rainforest to mine for gold. In March 2008 gold reached its highest price in history and swathes of the forest are being burnt, then cut down and hosed away for tiny amounts of the precious metal.
Reporter Alex Bellos travels to the centre of the story on the Brazil/ French Guyanan border. He travels by road and then up river, persuading a boatman to take him to a clandestine mine which has never been filmed before. It is a dangerous journey - they have to dodge river patrols of French gendarmes and the French Foreign Legion.
These law enforcement officers may be 4,000 miles from home but this region is governed from Paris and the environmental disaster caused by illegal mining has been leading Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and the European Union to take measures.
People & Power meets those whose lifestyle is linked to the fluctuation of gold in the region, from Brazilian miners to prostitutes and the head of the gendarmerie in French Guyana.
Things change, even in Africa. If development is about the growth of a country's industry and its economy, in Africa, tribal conflicts and the weight of ancestral traditions often slow down the process and put African nations far behind other growing world economies.
In Kenya, the Maasai account for about 2 per cent of the total population, but their reluctance to using Western colonial style values is well-known. Ledama Ole Kina is one of them. Unlike his peers, he wants to take the Maasai to the next step, and play a big role in the development of Kenya.
For that he created the Maasai Education Discovery - a modern education system partly founded by a US government grant, and strongly encouraging education of women. Ledama sees them as a key to the development of Kenya and he is taking measures to protect them. In a society where female circumcision is common practice, giving women a different status is a revolution.
People & Power presents Ledama's vision of the Maasai society entering the 21st century.
This episode of People & Power aired from Wednesday, April 9, 2008.