Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous GariwoNetwork

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Environment and climate change

Environment and climate change

defending the Earth, defending human rights

Environmental protection and human rights have long been considered as two distinct sets of issues. In the past decade, the urge has increased to recognize the link between them, despite the lack of a legislation – also at the UN level – which officially codifies environmental rights.

In spite of this, there are people who struggle to safeguard the Earth and its ecosystems. Who are these defenders? They are people who, through a peaceful action, are in the first line in the protection of ecosystems. Ordinary people, who would probably never call themselves “defenders”. Among them we find indigenous people living in the mountains or forests, who want to protect the lands and traditions of their ancestors from multinational firms or luxury hotels, or rangers who try to counter poaching, or also lawyers, journalists or members of NGOs who report abuse and illegality. 60% of the crimes perpetrated against them occur in Latin America, in particular in Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and Peru. The extractive industry is the major cause of protests, and so also of deaths, in India and Turkey, too. In Mexico and the Philippines, environmental activists are murdered at the hands of criminal gangs, while in Africa the worse threat to their lives is poaching.