The dangers of land activism

Screenshot of interactive map from GlobalWitness.org.

Last week, an environmental activist in Honduras was killed in what has been identified as a politically motivated murder. Berta Caceres, a Lenca indigenous leader and award-winning environmentalist, gained international attention for her work to prevent the construction of a hydroelectric dam that would have destroyed the homeland of several Lenca people. Her activism caused her to regularly face threats from business and political interests — eventually leading to her death.

Caceres is, tragically, just one of many. The nonprofit investigative group Global Witness put together a report last year showing the deaths of environmental and land activists globally — the numbers, causes, and locations. Our #3Stats and map are both pulled from Global Witness's research this week.

At Global Sisters Report we regularly write about Sisters doing environmental and human justice activism work, and the bravery it takes cannot be overstated. Caceres, at one point, told Grist reporter Eve Andrews that, "I am absolutely convinced that if I were a man, this level of aggression wouldn't be so violent." Of women activists in general she said: "We are women who are reclaiming our right to the sovereignty of our bodies and thoughts and political beliefs, to our cultural and spiritual rights — of course the aggression is much greater."

Infographic created by Georgia Perry using Canva with statistics from GlobalWitness.org.

[Georgia Perry is a freelance writer based in Oakland, California. She's contributed to several print and online magazines including, The Atlantic, CityLab, Portland Monthly Magazine and the Portland Mercury. She was formerly a staff writer at the Santa Cruz Weekly in California. Follow her on Twitter @georguhperry.]