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Another shocking environmental record

Written By: - Date published: 10:28 am, June 21st, 2016 - 16 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, Conservation, disaster, global warming, sustainability - Tags: , ,

The world’s news is full of new environmental records. Highest temperatures. Extreme weather. Most pollution. Species extinction. Habitat loss. On and on it goes.

Here’s another environmental record for the world to be proud of:

Environmental activist murders set record as 2015 became deadliest year

Global Witness says at least 185 activists were killed and anti-mining activities were the most deadly – with 42 deaths related to protests

At least 185 environmental activists were killed last year, the highest annual death toll on record and close to a 60% increase on the previous year, according to a UK-based watchdog.

Global Witness documented lethal attacks across 16 countries. Brazil was worst hit with 50 deaths, many of them killings of campaigners who were trying to combat illegal logging in the Amazon. The Philippines was second with 33. Colombia had 26 fatal attacks; Peru, 12; Nicaragua, 12; and Democratic Republic of Congo had 11.

“As demand for products like minerals, timber and palm oil continues, governments, companies and criminal gangs are seizing land in defiance of the people who live on it,” said Billy Kyte, a senior campaigner for Global Witness and author of the report.

“Communities that take a stand are increasingly finding themselves in the firing line of companies’ private security, state forces and a thriving market for contract killers. For every killing we document, many others go unreported. Governments must urgently intervene to stop this spiraling violence.” …

Thank you to those who stand up for the environment. Whoever and wherever you are. Thank you.

16 comments on “Another shocking environmental record ”

  1. TC 1

    Sad indeed.

    Was reading about oil spills in gulf of mexico and how many go unreported as they do not exceed an arbitrary quantity as estimated by those upstanding oil and drilling companies.

    The number of reported ones was an eye opener before you consider what is not reported.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    As conditions deteriorate, judges, academics, politicians, local officials and others who try and stand up against corporations will also end up finished.

  3. I’d say a lot of the dead are indigenous people fighting for their survival. Often these people are at the barricades and court’s fighting for human rights and protection of the environment and their communities. The same fight by the same people is here too.

  4. save nz 4

    Good post, but shocking.

  5. johnm 5

    When I was on holiday in Bangkok back in 2007 I sat and had a beer in a pub and read the English language newspaper. In it it reported that up north somewhere a Buddhist monk had been trying to preserve and area of jungle and was resisting those wanting to develop it: he’d been murdered! 🙁 I was shocked and horrified!

    Rhinos and Elephants could go extinct because there is an astronomical price on their ivory! 🙁

    Rising Tide of ‘Politically Acceptable’ Killings Spells Danger for Environmentalists Worldwide

    More than three people were slain each week in 2015 for ‘protecting the land, forests, and rivers,’ a new report reveals


    “It is necessary to defend the land, for us the poor people, because the land is our own bank. If we lose it we have lost the world.”
    —Sima Mattia, Malen Land Owners and Users Association (MALOA) of Sierra Leone

    “On September 1, at around 3am, the killers came. They woke the people up and forced them to gather in the basketball court. They prevented Tatay Emok from leaving… tied his hands and feet, slit his throat, shot his chest, and left him dead. They told us to leave our community in two days or else they will finish us all.”
—Michelle Campos, land defender in the Philippines

    Moreover, the organization discovered another alarming trend: “while impunity for perpetrators prevails,” Global Witness wrote, “the criminalization of activists is becoming more commonplace, particularly in African countries. Governments and powerful business interests use their influence to marginalize defenders and turn public opinion against them, branding their actions as ‘anti-development.'”

    “Killing has become politically acceptable to achieve economic goals,” the report quoted Felipe Milanez, former deputy editor of National Geographic Brazil, as saying. “I’ve never seen, working for the past 10 years in the Amazon, a situation so bad.”

    Where O where will it all end? 🙁 🙁

  6. Rae 6

    Seems we are going to go all the way down the path to insanity.

  7. Ad 7

    Locally, the people I’ve seen making good environmental hits is Fish and Game.
    Making proper tilts at ECAN, and Southland District Council.
    It’s like they’ve replaced the Environment Commissioner as our little legislated LORAX.

  8. Here in NZ, environmental activists are just ignored by the Government and ridiculed by right wing blogs. New coal mines are developed, Irrigation schemes implemented, DoC’s funding cut, water taken illegally, dodgy carbon credits imported, oil exploration encouraged and rivers polluted virtually at will. Rather than wasting energy taking out activists, polluting businesses and the Government direct their energies into PR and spin and attacking the environment instead.

    • reason 8.1

      + 100

      The national party in particular have been ridiculing the greens at every opportunity.

      Wayne Mapp who trolls here, but who never comments in a thread like this likes to call the greens ‘anti trade’ a lot.

      Our media tells us that the political parties who follow the road to the worlds to extinction are ” a safe pair of hands”.

      ….. and murdered environmentalists or our trade with countries that run death squads is not reported.

  9. The GE issue is on the bubble right now. The industry-sponsored ‘softening-up’ of the public is well advanced and that included setting up the language framework in order to portray those who resist the introduction of GE pasture grasses and pine trees in particular, as crazy and emotional. Dr William Rolleston is heading that programme.

  10. Jenny Kirk 10

    The GE issue, dirty river waters, loss of native fish in local streams, and we’re also battling the potential for gold mining up here in the north. Its never-ending, and when it comes down to it, we’re all battling the multi-corporations who are aided by this govt and sometimes the local government authorities too. Puny NZers against the big bullies.

  11. M. Gray 11

    Its all about money not people or the environment we live in. When are NZers going to wake up. We already can’t swim in many of our rivers who ruined them ? who polluted them companies/businesses not local people

  12. schwen 12

    Don’t you think global population growth needs to be addressed? After all, it is the explosion in the human population that has driven the insatiable exploitation of the environment. When/how will it end? How many humans is enough?

    To illustrate the dynamic, it took all of human history until around 1800 for the world’s population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987). And, during the 20th century alone, the population of the world grew from 1.65 billion to 6 billion. It’s now at 7.4 billion.

    Time to stop trying to save every human at risk of dying of war, disease or famine. Otherwise, you can kiss the planet goodbye, as it cannot sustain this sort of population growth much longer.

  13. johnm 13

    Berta Cáceres’s name was on Honduran military hitlist, says former soldier

    A unit trained by US special forces was ordered to kill the environmental activist who was slain in March, according to an ex-member who now fears for his life

    By Nina Lakhani in Mexico City

    Berta Cáceres, the murdered environmental campaigner, appeared on a hitlist distributed to US-trained special forces units of the Honduran military months before her death, a former soldier has claimed.

    Lists featuring the names and photographs of dozens of social and environmental activists were given to two elite units, with orders to eliminate each target, according to First Sergeant Rodrigo Cruz, 20.


    Cáceres, an indigenous Lenca leader who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for a campaign against the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, was shot dead in her home in March. Before her murder, she had reported 33 death threats linked to the campaign and had warned international human rights delegates that her name was on a hitlist.

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