Have you ever thought about what you value so much that you’d be willing to die for? What immediately comes to my mind is that I would do anything to keep my children and grandchildren safe. And millions of activists around the globe feel the same way. These are people who have taken up the fight to save their community and their way of life. What would you sacrifice to save our planet Earth? Would you pay the ultimate price? Is it a planet to die for?

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Credit: Michelle Campos says her father and grandfather were publicly executed in September 2015 for opposing mining in Mindanao, Philippines. Photograph: Tulda productions

A Planet To Die For

The country of Honduras is a hotbed for the persecution of activists determined to save their way of life from the ravages of resource extraction and exploitation by their government and foreign companies. Death has become a part of life for environmental activists in Honduras. On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her home after years of threats to her life and that of family members.  She was murdered by US trained special forces after being on a military hitlist reports theguardian in a June article.

Global Witness reports that at least 116 environmental activists were murdered in 2014. And 2015 has since become the worst year ever with 185 murders in 16 countries around the world.

Billy Kyte is a Global Witness campaign leader and the author of On Dangerous Ground. The report documents the killings by country during the previous five years:

We’re seeing industries like mining, hydro dams and agribusiness encroaching more and more into previously untouched areas rich in resources and coming into conflict with local communities who live there, particularly indigenous peoples.

The killing of Berta Cáceres this year shows that anyone is now fair game….For such a high-profile activist to be gunned down in her home proves that the perpetrators of violence are becoming more audacious and are targeting anyone who gets in their way.

The following graphic illustrates the number of deaths of environmental activists — let your cursor hover on the appropriate country.

The Numbers Are Shocking

These numbers are shocking, and evidence that the environment is emerging as a new battleground for human rights. Across the world industry is pushing ever deeper into new territory, driven by consumer demand for products like timber, minerals and palm oil. Increasingly communities that take a stand are finding themselves in the firing line of companies’ private security, state forces and a thriving market for contract killers.

The report calls on the international community to deal with the escalating violence against those willing to defend their land, their communities, the planet. Corporations and governments around the world have a moral obligation to bring these murderers and criminals to justice. “Without these measures, those on the frontline in the battle to save the environment will continue to be killed in record numbers — and any hope we have for future generations will also be killed,” says Kyte.

The following video depicts the declining condition of our planet and the fate of so many who have died defending it. It provides a sobering look at the condition of our world and the plight of many who have lost their life in their quest to save our planet.


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The film is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. Itwas put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network. In memoriam found at 3:36 minutes of the video.

A story is told about an activist who was asked why he was risking his life fighting the corporations destroying his way of life and his community. His answer was simple. “It makes me feel alive,” he said. “And I want to feel alive before I die.” A short time later, he was assassinated. (Source unknown).

How about you. Do you want to feel alive before you die? 

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climate ironyRolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Activist and a blogger. He’s a member of 350.Org (Ottawa), Climate Reality Canada and Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa). Rolly has been published widely in both print and online publications. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterLinkedin and Pinterest.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for an important post, Rolly. Green design guru, Bill McDonough, poses the question, “When are we going to become native to this place?” Many if not most of those who have been willing to put their lives on the line for their families, their communities, and their planet were Indigenous people.

    These murders in so many other parts of the world make it all the more chilling and obscene that there aren’t more climate change activists in Canada and the USA, where doing this good work isn’t deadly. In northern North America, we’re not even willing to “feel bad” about climate change let alone fight (and die) to safeguard the future.

    But therein lies the Catch-22, as well. Our lives here are oftentimes much easier, much more comfortable, and much safer than lives in the places you talked about. So why would anyone here rise up in defence of Mother Earth? After all, what has Mother Earth ever given us that we couldn’t just buy at Walmart? /end sarcasm/

    • Hi Julie,

      In the fall of 2015 I attended a workshop on civil disobedience put on by Cam Fenton and others from 350.Canada. This was in preparation for climate action events coming up – The Climate Welcome and the Peoples Climate March. Attendants such as myself were trained on how to react and what to expect from police during a protest culminating in a civil disobedience arrest. We were ready to be arrested and prepared for the consequences. We were ready to sacrifice but nothing compares to the ultimate sacrifice of protesters described in the article.

      It never crossed my mind that my life was in danger because it was not. I can only marvel at the courage of the hundreds of people who have given up their own lives to protect their families, communities and the planet. They are true climate heroes.

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