Killings of environmental activists have risen by 20% in the last year, according to campaign group Global Witness.
Last year saw a spike in killings related to hydropower programs. Fourteen people died defending their land and rivers against dam projects.
Home to around 1,300 Palestinians, the village of Wadi Fukin sits in a fertile valley close to Bethlehem, right along the border with Israel. Driving along the only road that leads into town, I’m taken by the sheer size of the nearby Israeli settlement, Beitar Illit, built just to the East. White stone residential towers housing over 45,000 Israelis rise above on the hills as my car descends into the valley. The buildings slide down towards the village, ending in a towering wall built into the hillside that looms above groves of olive trees.
Although Detroit sits next to one-fifth of the world’s freshwater supply, earlier this year the city decided to cut the water off from its residents who cannot not afford to pay for it.
Access to safe and affordable water is out of reach for way too many people in the United States.
Imagine that – even for a day – you lose the running water in your home to drink, cook, bathe and flush your toilet. In Detroit it is the everyday reality of thousands of families whose water has been shut off after falling behind in paying their bills.
This intersection of poverty and water access brings to mind the “food desert” (an area underserved by grocery stores). Food deserts have created a public health paradox: without healthy food, the poor are more likely to be obese, relying on corner shops stocked with junk food. The difference is that when it comes to water, there is no alternative – fast food and sugary cereal might be the food desert substitute to fresh vegetables and whole grains, but there is no substitute for water.
The Turkana herdsmen, who live a semi-nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, struggle to cope with the harsh consequences of climate change in the arid northwestern tip of Kenya. Due to the reoccurring and prolonged drought grazing land in the region is diminishing leaving little to support the Turkana tribes.
Hundreds of oil spills occur in Nigeria every year, causing significant harm to the environment, destroying local livelihoods and placing human health at serious risk. These spills are caused by corrosion, poor maintenance of oil infrastructure, equipment failure, sabotage and theft of oil. For the last decade oil companies in Nigeria – in particular Shell – have defended the scale of pollution by claiming that the vast majority of oil spills are caused by sabotage and theft of oil.
There is no legitimate basis for this claim.
“Yanacocha’s buses and trucks that transport police are impeding free movement by community buses,” said antimining activist Marco Arana in a Twitter account in his name.
Perween Rahman, an architect and urban planner by trade and one of Pakistan’s most prominent social workers, was brutally murdered in Karachi on March 13. Although some believe she was most likely shot dead by hit men contracted by the city’s powerful land mafia, when I met her, we talked about another equally dangerous and influential group that formed to benefit from Karachi’s stolen waters.
In an effort to encourage mineral exploration the Peruvian government aims to exclude the Quechua-speaking communities from the so-called ‘prior consultation law’. If implemented the mining companies will no longer be required to negotiate agreements with the Quechua before building new mines around their lands.
The “prior consultation law,” which [Peruvian President Ollanta] Humala touted during his 2011 campaign as a salve for widespread conflicts over natural resources, requires companies to negotiate agreements with indigenous communities before building new mines or oil wells around their lands.
“I think this is a big mistake and we will all pay at the end of the day. When these communities get angry they are going to attack the mines under their noses”
Amar Guriro, a Karachi-based environmental journalist and a WaterAid Fellow, has named Machar Colony ‘the town of miracles’. After we walked through piles of rubbish surrounding children using the streets as a playground, he explained that surviving here is only possible by the appearance of small miracles.