Chico Mendez was assassinated 25 years ago for being a forest activist in Brazil. Today, the country is regarded as the most dangerous place for land and environment defenders (Bernard). The primary issues in environmental killings began when land activists fought for the protection of rubber trees. However, the conflict with private groups that express interest in Brazil’s natural resources escalated into a scale that no one has expected. The simple battle for rubber trees evolved into a battle to save the Amazon, and eventually, a fight for humanity. Several people have died fighting for the protection of Brazil’s natural resources including the Amazon. This issue is notoriously under-reported and rarely gets out into the international audience. However, from 2002 to 2013, there were approximately 908 citizens killed for protecting the environment while 913 journalists were killed for publicizing looting activities of the Brazil’s natural resources (Bernard).
This problem was attributed to the lack of systematic monitoring and protective measures to prevent the killings. According to Lakhani (2014), the surge of deaths of activist in Brazil was due to insatiable appetite for gold, silver, other minerals, and wildlife, which the government fails to address. Looking at how the issue evolves, one can only assume that the conflict created by activism and industrialization of natural resources in Brazil is a result of lack of social responsibility on the part of the stakeholders. Environmental death concerns not only the families of the victims, but also the country’s social and political spectrum. This is because, the environmental death is not only an issue of environmental degradation and exploitation, but also a form of suppression among the people. The politics of natural resources and its exploitation transcends from an economic perspective into a major humanitarian due to the loss of life. It is apparent that the loss of environmental resources prevails on the expense of the citizen’s lives.
Bernard, Antoine. "Deadly environments: The rise of killings of environmental and land defenders." Global Witness (2013): n. pag. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://www.globalwitness.org/sites/default/files/library/Deadly%20Environment.pdf>.
Lakhani, Nina. "Surge in deaths of environmental activists over past decade, report finds." the Guardian. theguardian.com, 15 Apr. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/15/surge-deaths-environmental-activists-global-witness-report>.