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A new report from Global Witness found that 2020 was the deadliest year yet for land and environmental defenders.

They point out that since they began analyzing data on these murders in 2012, evidence suggests that intensification of the climate crisis is escalating violence against those protecting their land and also our planet.

They write, “In 2020, we recorded 227 lethal attacks – an average of more than four people per week – making it … the most dangerous year on record for people defending their homes, land and livelihoods, and ecosystems vital for biodiversity and the climate.

“Our figures are almost certainly an underestimate, with many attacks against defenders going unreported.

As one example, in Nicaragua, Mayangna indigenous people in the resource-rich Bosawas rainforest have raised alarms about rising numbers of murders and attacks in their communities occurring with impunity—Nicaragua having the highest per capita rate of land defender killings.

Global Witness concludes, “It has become clear that the unaccountable exploitation and greed driving the climate crisis is also driving violence against land and environmental defenders.”

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.


GJEP partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Radio, Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute on Wednesday and an Earth Watch interview on Thursday.

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