When Environmental Activism Turns Deadly

Listening to deaths-of-eco-activists made me realize that the past couple of years have seen a surge in the killings of environmental activist and journalist all over the world. Why is that? What harm could an environmental activist cause anyone? Apparently, they’re a big threat.Take a recent case in Thailand for example. Prajob Nao-opas, 43, fought against illegal toxic waste disposal by various industrial estates in Thailand until one day he was shot three times in broad daylight. It is thought that his activism made him a target.

Or take a case in Mexico: last November a mother and her son, a year after her husband and two sons had already been killed, were shot down by Narcos. Juventina Villa Mojica was under police protection due to the threats she had already received, but her and her 10-year-old son were not able to survive. In fact, 20 members of her family and her husband’s family have been killed after they refused to let the drug dealers cut down trees in the forests near their village. A whole community has been dislocated because of the dangers they face if they stay in their homes.

Or, how about we take an up and coming world leader, Brazil: just last year, around the same time that the Rio+ 20 Earth Summit was taking place, two friends and activist Almir Nogueira de Amorim and João Luiz Telles Penetra were murdered. They were both members of AHOMAR, an organization that fought against the contruction of gas pipelines that would pollute and destroy fisheries.

The list is long and painful and unfortunately encompasses many regions. Here you will find a list of the many murders. Yet these cases are cases that are not only happening all over Thailand, Mexico and Brazil, but, instead, are happening at a woldwide level.

KillingsGlobalWitnessChart.2002-2011

Reported Killings Of Eco Activists By Country (2002-2011)

For the globalized world these activist are a threat. In a world where natural resources are limited and yet are the only source that keep the world turning, countries, like Brazil, have a lot to offer to corporations and governments themselves. It is for these purposes that an invididual’s life and at times a whole community’s life are seen as being in the way and dispensable.

It is time that the people and the governments become aware of the dangerous that activist, who are trying to protect their own land for their well being and the well being of others, are in; and that they take the necessary means to safe guard them. After all, where would we be without the activist?

Despite these intimidating facts, there are several people and organizations, such as Instituto Chico Mendes, who continue risking their lives so that we can all continue living. Because, as the videos above shows, Earth is worth dying for.