Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rising activist deaths are a symptom of our global environmental crisis

Oliver Courtney in the Guardian (UK): This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed what 99.9% of those who work on environmental issues already knew: we need to change something pretty drastic if we want to avoid a rise in temperature of less than 2C.

...That same message comes through strongly in the research by Global Witness that identifies a significant recent upturn in killings of the very people who are protecting the environment and land rights.

...Huge deals for land, forests and other natural resources continue to be done behind closed doors, without sufficiently considering the social or environmental costs or consulting those who live on the land. When they resist, local communities and indigenous people are branded "anti-development" and bulldozed out of the way, often with the help of the authorities who are meant to protect them.

Ironically, such communities typically practise a better and more sustainable approach to development. Those responsible for their persecution enjoy almost total impunity, while monitoring of threats to this particularly vulnerable group is almost non-existent.

We can trace this problem back to the same forces that lie behind climate change – soaring consumption in the rich world is driving us far beyond the planet's natural boundaries. Things like forests and land are finite, but we are liquidating them faster than ever, generally for the short-term gain of a few vested interests, and at massive cost to the rest of us....

A public domain image of environmental activists, by Lorédan

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