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A Record 207 Environmental Activists Were Killed Last Year
The troubling report revealed that 207 men and women across 22 countries were murdered last year defending their land and resources, making it the worst year on record.
Agribusiness was the industry most associated with these attacks—highlighting the devastating cost of the food we eat and the products we use.
"For the first time, agribusiness surpassed mining as the most dangerous sector to oppose, as 46 defenders who protested against palm oil, coffee, tropical fruit and sugar cane plantations, as well as cattle ranching, were murdered in 2017," the report said.
Global Witness cited Hernán Bedoya of Colombia, who was shot by a paramilitary group 14 times in December for protesting the expansion of palm oil and banana plantations in his community.
In the Philippines, during a December massacre near Lake Sebu, eight villagers were killed by the Philippine army over a coffee plantation expansion. Five more were wounded and another 200 were forced to flee.
"As global demand for these products increases, there's a scramble by business actors to get the massive amount of land they need to grow these products," Ben Leather, senior campaigner at Global Witness, told AFP. "When people dare to stand up for their rights and demand that the environment be protected they are silenced in the most brutal way."
The vast majority of murdered activists were from Latin America, accounting for 60 percent of those killed in 2017. Brazil was ranked the most dangerous with 57 murders alone.
What's more, the group found evidence that government actors, such as soldiers or police, contributed to 53 of the recorded murders.
"While in a shocking number of cases state actors pulled the trigger, in other cases where the government allowed businesses to enter without protecting local rights, they're also complicit in the murders of these activists," Leather noted.
Global Witness acknowledged that the amount of killings could be much higher.
"The data we have painstakingly gathered and presented in this report and the case studies included are almost certainly a sizeable underestimate, given the many challenges in identifying and reporting killings," the group said. "Yet even as it stands, it shows that the risks defenders face every day continue to grow, and governments and business have a very serious case to answer."
- Why 2017 Was the Deadliest Year for Environmental Activists ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.