[ View the story "The price of activism" on Storify] The price of activism Attacks on green activists are on the rise in Latin America.
The Stream· Wed, Oct 09 2013 11:27:00
In a recent
the United Nations notes that Latin America is the most dangerous place in the world for environmentalists. Despite the lack of definitive statistics, Global Witness, an NGO, has
that environmentalists have been killed in at least 34 countries around the world. As seen in the chart below, most of the killings occurred in Latin American countries:
Reported Killings of Environmentalists 2002-2011AJstreamTEST
The Global Witness
recorded the death of 711 green workers in the last decade. The organisation says this may be a conservative estimate since the report does not account for the victims of land and mining disputes or countries with restrictive human rights reporting.
The blog Environmental History Timeline
the murders of activists year by year.
Many were shocked by the report's findings:
We are treating the word ‘Climate Change’ like we treated the word ‘genocide.’ When we witness mass killings...
Some created petitions demanding for change, and green blogs encouraged those on social media to join their campaigns.
Sticking up for environment can be deadly: People who track killings of environmental activists say the numbers ...
Campaigns demanding justice were recently established for green workers such as
Noe Vazquez Ortiza
, the indigenous Amazon leader
Mauro Pio Pena
and the young biologist
, who were murdered this summer.
Al Jazeera correspondent,
the life, work and subsequent murder of renowned Brazilian rainforest activist, Ze Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espirito Santo.
Al Jazeera Correspondent - The Crying Forestaljazeeraenglish
Prior to his death, Ze Claudio presented a TEDx talk about his struggle to protect the Amazon and the threats that he received for it:
Killing trees is murder: Zé Cláudio Ribeiro at TEDxAmazoniatedxtalks
The threats facing green workers led Amazon activist Nilcilene Miguel de Lima to seek 24-hour protection from the Brazilian Police:
Nilcilene Miguel de Lima, Amazon Activist With Escort And Bulletproof Vest: They're Going To Kill Meapublica
Netizens were suspicious that corporate interests in the region were responsible for these deaths.
Envrionmentalist Killings Rising
// Any chance corrupt regimes and/or greedy corporations may be behind this?Shane Lindsay
Others feel that environmentalists hurt development initiatives in Latin America.
I find most intriguing the opposition to all kinds of hydroelectric projects, which could provide consumers with a clean energy source, and reduce the burden of power bills to boot, something which would make life much easier for rural inhabitants. Barring this alternative energy source, or mining, or the construction of bridges and roads, is equal to barring the economic development of areas which are normally quite neglected, and to deliberately hampering the creation of wealth, which — as all will surely understand — is the most effective and lasting way to fight poverty.panampost.com
We asked The Stream community what they thought were the underlying causes for the deaths of Latin American green workers:
@AJStream Coz. env. activists question the status quo of elite control over natural resources such as land, forests, & water @PrakashKashwanRed Green Politics
@AJStream activists in LATAM are under threat due to corrupt regimes, strong MNCs, murderous security forces & non-existent environment lawsalhaji chodi
@sara_salman @AJStream that's because they must fight against big economic interests -most of the time-gazanix
@GreenPoliticos @AJStream Success of env. governance requires clearly defined property rights, rule of law, & democratic accountability.Prakash Kashwan