Nav: Home

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

June 02, 2020

Activists protesting against environmental injustices around the world suffer from high rates of criminalization, physical violence and murder. This is the result of a study developed by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) that presents the largest analysis of environmental conflicts up to date. The study highlights that these impacts are especially frequent when indigenous peoples are involved, and in conflicts related to mining and land use.

Researchers from the Environmental Justice project (ENVjustice) have analysed 2,743 cases of environmental conflicts worldwide registered in the global Atlas of Environmental Justice (EJAtlas), an interactive map that identifies existing ecological distribution conflicts. The study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, is a landmark advancement in the field of statistical and comparative political ecology.

The global movement for environmental justice is composed of local activism against fossil fuel extraction, open cast mining, tree plantations, hydropower dams and other extractive industries, and against waste disposal in the form of incineration or dumps. "This is the environmentalism of the poor and the indigenous", states Joan Martínez-Alier,ICTA-UAB economist and principal researcher of the ENVjustice project. Arnim Scheidel, main author of the study says that "to support environmental defenders effectively, better knowledge about the underlying environmental conflicts is needed, as well as a profound understanding of the factors that enable activists to mobilize successfully for environmental justice".

The researchers describe the characteristics of environmental conflicts and the environmental defenders involved, as well as their successful mobilization strategies. Analysed data show that environmental defenders are frequently members of vulnerable groups who employ largely non-violent protest forms. However, their activism comes at a heavy cost. In 20% of environmental conflicts, activists face criminalization, including fines, legal persecution and prison terms. In 18% of cases, activists are victims of physical violence, and in 13% of cases, they are murdered. When indigenous people are involved, these figures significantly increase to 27% in criminalization, 25% in violence and 19% in murders.

In 11% of cases globally, protesters contributed to halt environmentally destructive and socially conflictive projects, defending the environment and livelihoods. "Combining strategies of preventive mobilization, protest diversification and litigation can increase this success rate significantly to up to 27%", explains Juan Liu, corresponding author of the study. The research also highlights the role of women as leaders in the mobilizations (21%), sometimes because of being disproportionally affected by the environmental and health impacts of these conflicts.

Bottom-up mobilizations for more sustainable and socially just uses of the environment occur worldwide across countries in all income groups, "testifying to the existence of various forms of grassroots environmentalism as a promising force for sustainability", the researchers conclude.
-end-
Reference:

Scheidel A, Del Bene D, Liu J, Navas G, Mingorría S, Demaria F, Avila S, Roy B, Ertör I, Temper L, Martinez-Alier J. 2020. Environmental Conflicts and Defenders: a global overview. Global Environmental Change 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102104

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Related Violence Articles:

As farming developed, so did cooperation -- and violence
The growth of agriculture led to unprecedented cooperation in human societies, a team of researchers, has found, but it also led to a spike in violence, an insight that offers lessons for the present.
The front line of environmental violence
Environmental defenders on the front line of natural resource conflict are being killed at an alarming rate, according to a University of Queensland study.
What can trigger violence in postcolonial Africa?
Why do civil wars and coups d'état occur more frequently in some sub-Saharan African countries than others.
Another victim of violence: Trust in those who mean no harm
Exposure to violence does not change the ability to learn who is likely to do harm, but it does damage the ability to place trust in 'good people,' psychologists at Yale and University of Oxford report April 26 in the journal Nature Communications
Victims of gun violence tell their stories: Everyday violence, 'feelings of hopelessness'
Invited to share their personal stories, victims of urban gun violence describe living with violence as a 'common everyday experience' and feeling abandoned by police and other societal institutions, reports a study in the November/December Journal of Trauma Nursing, official publication of the Society of Trauma Nurses.
Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.
Teen dating violence is down, but boys still report more violence than girls
When it comes to teen dating violence, boys are more likely to report being the victim of violence -- being hit, slapped, or pushed--than girls.
Preventing murder by addressing domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence are at a high risk to be murdered -- or a victim of attempted murder -- according to a Cuyahoga County task force of criminal-justice professionals, victim advocates and researchers working to prevent domestic violence and homicides.
'Love displaces violence'
Art historian Eva-Bettina Krems on persistent motifs of peace in art from antiquity to the present day -- dove, rainbow or victory of love: artists draw on recurring motifs.
Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the University at Albany has found.
More Violence News and Violence Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Biology Of Sex
Original broadcast date: May 8, 2020. Many of us were taught biological sex is a question of female or male, XX or XY ... but it's far more complicated. This hour, TED speakers explore what determines our sex. Guests on the show include artist Emily Quinn, journalist Molly Webster, neuroscientist Lisa Mosconi, and structural biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Wubi Effect
When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huweai and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China's technological renaissance almost didn't happen. And for one very basic reason: The Chinese language, with its 70,000 plus characters, couldn't fit on a keyboard.  Today, we tell the story of Professor Wang Yongmin, a hard headed computer programmer who solved this puzzle and laid the foundation for the China we know today. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with reporting assistance from Yang Yang. Special thanks to Martin Howard. You can view his renowned collection of typewriters at: antiquetypewriters.com Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.