The people killed each year defending their local places are also defending our shared planet — in particular our climate. The activities that flood our atmosphere with carbon — fossil fuel extraction and deforestation — are at the heart of so many of these killings. — environmentalist Bill McKibben
The people killed each year defending their local places are also defending our shared planet — in particular our climate. The activities that flood our atmosphere with carbon — fossil fuel extraction and deforestation — are at the heart of so many of these killings. — environmentalist Bill McKibben
227 environmental activists were murdered last year, a new report found. That's more than 4 people per week.
  • A record 227 environmental activists were murdered in 2020, a Global Witness report found.
  • But that number is likely an undercount, and the group said the toll may rise in coming years.
  • Many killings are linked to logging, mining, and agriculture, with Indigenous people heavily targeted.
"The people killed each year defending their local places are also defending our shared planet — in particular our climate," environmentalist Bill McKibben said in a statement for the report. "The activities that flood our atmosphere with carbon — fossil fuel extraction and deforestation — are at the heart of so many of these killings."

The largest number of murders (65 of them) happened in Colombia, followed by Mexico (30) and the Philippines (29). Those three countries together accounted for more than half of the killings in the report.

In cases where a perpetrator could be identified, hitmen carried out the most murders, killing a total of 89 activists. Militia or guerrilla groups were linked to 30 deaths, armed forces to 18, and police to 12.

Over one-third of the fatal attacks targeted Indigenous people. One of those killed, Γ“scar Eyraud Adams, was shot just a month after showing local media how dry the land had become in Tecate, Mexico. Adams had complained that large companies like Heineken were diverting water from the community, according to a local report on his death.


"I thought people might beat or kidnap him, but I never imagined they would go as far as they did," his mother, Norma Adams, told Global Witness.

"Every person like this around the world is at risk. And they are at risk, in the end, not just because of another local person who pulls the trigger or plunges the blade; they're at risk because they find themselves living on or near something that some corporation is demanding," McKibben said.

Nearly 30% of the killings recorded had links to resource extraction like logging, mining, large-scale agriculture, and hydroelectric dams. Logging was linked to the most cases in the report — 23 deaths.

The report recommends that governments implement regulations to protect environmental activists, and that the United Nations "formally recognize the human right to a safe, healthy, and sustainable environment." It also implored businesses to evaluate their supply chains and operations in order to ensure they're not contributing to human-rights violations.

But Global Witness expects these death tolls to continue rising in the years to come as the climate crisis accelerates.
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/record-number-environmental-activists-murdered-in-2020-2021-9