“Planet earth is a beautiful place and worth dying for”
This is not a quote; this was a belief of a number of environmental activists that were killed mercilessly in the span of the last 10 years.
More than 500 environmentalists were assassinated and the ongoing investigation regarding their murders seems to get nowhere.
Deadly Environment, an investigation report curated by London-based Global Witness, documents 147 deaths in 2012. Norvergence, an environmental organization found the condition gets more pity as around 908 environmentalists were killed in 35 countries between 2002 and 2013.
On average, around 4 environmental activists are killed every week and their killers include government troops, hired gangsters, smugglers, and paramilitaries.
In 2014, at least 116 environmentalists were murdered and 40 percent of them were indigenous people killed because of mining, agri-business, and hydropower.
2017 saw a killing of around 2017 environmentalists and was proved as the deadliest year on record. When it comes to 2018, 83 environmentalists had been killed till October.
Now the question arises,
“How many more?”
Why are governments of different countries not being able to stop this ongoing genocide-like situation?
Oliver Courtney, a senior campaigner at Global Witness said: “Governments fail to protect their environmentalists due to multiple reasons and also international communities haven’t taken the issue seriously.”
The rich population across the globe has a never-ending appetite for gold, timber, silver, diamonds, and other minerals. To satisfy their need, industries set up their plant in countries where the amount of minerals is huge. Unfortunately, most of these countries have corrupt governments, weak institutions, and poor law systems.
Now, let’s take a look at the region-wise killing of environmentalists
60 percent of environmentalists that were killed in 2017 hailed from Latin America. There was a significant increase in the killing of environmentalists in Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru. The agribusiness industry was the main reason behind those killings. Surprisingly, criminals were found to be soldiers, police, and perpetrators.
It is not far behind South America as around 48 deaths were recorded in the Philippines only. The Global Witness report stated that “The brutal attacks on environmentalists are on the rise and the main reason is agricultural land.”
Governments and police force has a duty to protect their citizens but they are failing to do that.
The forest area of Krasnodar region is famous for illegal environmental activities. In December 2017, four environmental activists named Andrei Rudomakha, Alesandr Savelyev, Vera Kholodnaya, and Victor Chirikov were taking pictures of the site where many government officials and members of a private company were carrying out illegal construction.
Later that evening, environmentalists were brutally attacked and all the important things such as cameras, tablets, were snatched from them.
This was not the first or the last incident as protecting the environment in Russia is a dangerous occupation.
As sincere citizens, we should demand from our governments that they make laws that can protect environmental activists. It’s not only their responsibility to save guards the rights of indigenous people.
So, do your moral duty and raise the voice against injustice like Norvergence is doing.