Killings of Environmentalists Appear to Be on the Rise

Killings of Environmentalists Appear to Be on the Rise

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Around the world, sticking up for the environment can be deadly, and it appears to be getting deadlier. People who track killings of environmental activists say the numbers have risen dramatically in the last three years. Improved reporting may be one reason, they caution, but they also believe the rising death toll is a consequence of intensifying battles over dwindling supplies of natural resources, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

Killings have occurred in at least 34 countries, from Brazil to Egypt, and in both developing and developed nations, according to an Associated Press review of data and interviews. The London-based Global Witness said more than 700 people — more than one a week — died in the decade ending 2011 “defending their human rights or the rights of others related to the environment, specifically land and forests.” They were killed, the environmental investigation group says, during protests or investigations into mining, logging, intensive agriculture, hydropower dams, urban development and wildlife poaching.

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