Murdered for defending Nature – Sustainability Story of the Week
Yes, you’ve read that right. This is about the inconceivable and yet very real fact that in some parts of the world, being an environmental activist can cost you your life.
Berta Cáceres has become the symbol of this worldwide epidemic. Winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize and renowned Honduran indigenous and environmental rights activist, she was murdered last year in her home. She had been opposing a hydroelectric project on the Gualcarque river, which is sacred to the Lenca people. The project gained international support despite the local communities’ rights and concerns being largely ignored…
These environmental defenders have paid the ultimate price fighting for their natural heritage and deserve honour and recognition. While it can sometimes be easy to forget, they remind us that our planet simply can’t be taken for granted. So, let us all remember their sacrifice the next time we take those plastic bags at the shops because ‘it’s just easier that way’.
We’re lucky to live in a country where we can stand up for what matters to us. This is a luxury that they did not have. They went against powerful companies or criminal gangs that stripped them of their most basic rights and silenced them. This is a world where commercial interests –both legal and illegal– are valued over the environment and the lives of the people who protect it.
Mining has been found to be the deadliest industry with 45 deaths in 2015. Other industries such as agribusiness, logging and hydraulic dams have also brought violence and grief, in particular to remote communities whose land rights are often ignored.
Illegal logging in Brazil is gutting the Amazon rainforest and terrorising local populations. 80% of timber from Brazil is illegal and floods global market, reaching buyers in the UK and other European countries, the US, and China.
Many more people around the world are putting their lives on the line for our planet. Their voices need to be heard and their plight known. Protecting the environment should never come at such a high price.
We, as consumers, have a responsibility in the fate of environmental activists and their communities worldwide. It is time that we make conscious buying decisions and stop supporting companies that resolve to murder to overcome opposition.