Monday May 25th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Remembering Fallen Environmental Heroes On Memorial Day
Dear Diary. Most of us have heard the phrase, “don’t kill the messenger.” In ancient times messengers delivering bad news were sometimes killed by kings or those in charge as depicted in many films. No one wants to hear or receive bad new, which would result in a change of behavior or admittance that what they are doing is tactically wrong. Such has been the case with modern day environmentalists who have been delivering messenges saying that we need to change our polluting behavior for the good of us all.
Yet, to this day many environmental heroes are being killed making the ultimate sacrifice, mostly in third world countries. The Climate Guy is shaking his head here since I would think that by 2020 the world would have become civilized enough not to kill anyone delivering bad or “inconvenient” messages- those trying to correct injustices, or activists warning against pollution. It’s usually those with power who want to continue to degrade the environment for short term gain who do the killing. On this Memorial Day I’d like us to pause and reflect on many environmentalists who have given their lives so that we can have a better future. More from Redgreenandblue.org:
Remember on Memorial Day: 1,700 environmental activists killed this century defending the environment
Published on May 25th, 2020
According to records compiled by the campaign group Global Witness, 1,738 people described as environmental defenders were killed between 2002 and 2018, across 50 countries. The group says the number of reported deaths has been increasing over time with about three people killed each week on average. Yet the campaign group says only about 10% of these killings from 2002-2013 resulted in a conviction, compared with about 43% on average for global homicide convictions in 2013.
Memorial day: Environmental activist Berta Caceres was killed in her home in March 2016
Photo CC by Trocaire on Flickr.
In a study of the group’s data from 2002-2017, published today in Nature Sustainability, we found many of the deaths related to conflict over natural resources, including fossil fuels, timber and water. All but three of the countries where deaths were recorded are classed as highly corrupt, according to their Corruption Perceptions Index score.
What’s an environmental defender?
The term environmental defenders can include anyone involved in protecting land, forests, water and other natural resources.
Environmental defenders can be community activists, Indigenous peoples, lawyers, journalists or non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff. They are defined not by job title or political identity, but by their struggles to protect the environment or land rights. Many are part of collective struggles: they do not act alone.
One of the most well-known murdered defenders is Chico Mendes, a Brazilian rubber tapper, union leader and environmentalist. He was killed in 1988 for his work protecting the Amazon and advocating for the rights of local people.
In Cambodia, Chut Wutty, director of the Natural Resource Protection Group and a critic of military and government corruption in illegal logging, was shot and killed in 2012.
Berta Cáceres was murdered in 2016 for her fight against a dam that encroached on the water and land rights of the Lenca people of Honduras. Her death led to international movements calling for justice.
While some of the killings have sparked international outcry, others led to much more localised repercussions. Still others remain unreported and are not accounted for in the Global Witness database.
A conflict of interest
Conflicts over natural resources are often the underlying cause of the violence against environmental defenders. They are linked to different resources and sectors, such as fossil fuels, minerals, agriculture, aquaculture, timber and to the land or water from where these resources can be extracted.
We can see these conflicts as the continuation of historical colonial land use and appropriation. Today, the environmental footprint arising from the resource consumption of high-income countries is effectively outsourced to less wealthy nations and regions.
This is where raw materials are sourced in a country separate to where the resulting product or service is consumed.
Resource extraction is often carried out by companies or groups without legitimate rights to that resource. Examples include illegal logging in community forests. There is also the consumption of water from rivers that traditionally supplied villages or towns, for example, foreign mining companies in Bolivia.
While some of these natural resource drivers are local or national, in many cases it is multinational companies that are directly outsourcing their resource needs that play a role in violence against environmental defenders.
But who is actually doing the killing?
In our study we found weak rule of law and corruption in a country is closely correlated with environmental defender deaths.
We also found that indigenous people represent a disproportionate percentage of the defenders who are killed. About 40% of deaths recorded in 2015 and 2016, and about 30% in 2017, were indigenous people.
Indigenous people manage or have tenure over about a quarter of the world’s surface (about 38 million square kilometres. Conflict over natural resources is often related to a lack of recognition or acknowledgement of these rights.
A well-known recent example in the United States, Standing Rock involved resistance of the Sioux tribe, and allies, to the North Dakota Access Pipe Line. The aggressive response of the authorities, lead to the hospitalisation of many demonstrators.
We believe companies that profit from natural resources extracted under conditions that disregard the rights of environmental defenders are complicit in driving violence through their supply chains. They have a responsibility to act ethically.
There is an urgent need for a global perspective on natural resource conflicts. What is currently happening, in terms of the displacement of environmental and social damage, is a result of globalisation, and is increasing with trade and consumption.
The voices of those trying to defend the environment are being silenced. Low conviction rates show few people are being held accountable for these killings. This cycle of violence and impunity affects entire communities, creating a climate of fear. Despite their fear, many continue to fight for social and environmental justice.
- More: Oil oligarchs are ruining the world and murdering journalists. What are you going to do about it?
Notice that on the chart supplied by the article the number of environmentalist deaths are going up this century, probably due to our worsening climate with messages becoming more dire with a rise of protests. We should honor all who are sticking their neck out, and sometimes getting it chopped off for our sakes, on this soecial day.
Well, here is to the future:
Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Here are some “ET’s” from the new heat wave in the western United States:
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(As usual, the most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”