Defending the environment has become a suicide mission in many parts of the world
Environmental activists around the globe are being killed as they struggle to protect fragile ecosystems. From Brazil to Congo, the Philippines to Tanzania, the toll is heaviest in countries beset by corruption and weak enforcement, where entrenched government and business elites break laws with impunity.
Topacio Reynoso had devoted herself to opposing construction of a large silver mine planned near her hometown. “Nature is a paradise where we sow dreams and reap happiness,” she wrote. Now that she's dead, her father wonders whether it's worth carrying on the fight.
Myanmar’s transition from military rule has reopened grievances over army land seizures that are pitting farmers against the government, influential business interests, foreign investors — and one another.
Law professor John Knox, the first U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, says greater demand for natural resources and absence of the rule of law are putting activists in the crosshairs.
Additional credits: Produced by Marc Martin and Sean Greene