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Recognizing environmentalists under threat

It is well documented that our planet, along with its biodiversity and life-sustaining resources, is severely threatened. Lesser known is that some of the bravest among us, our environmental defenders, are putting their lives on the line on a daily basis. According to Global Witness, hundreds of activists, indigenous leaders, and environmental journalists have been killed in the past five years. Still more have faced intimidation, legal threats, and brutal violence over their efforts to protect the planet and its resources.

By Rhett A Butler

Global, October 31, 2016

Mongabay

It is well documented that our planet, along with its biodiversity and life-sustaining resources, is severely threatened. Lesser known is that some of the bravest among us, our environmental defenders, are putting their lives on the line on a daily basis. According to Global Witness, hundreds of activists, indigenous leaders, and environmental journalists have been killed in the past five years. Still more have faced intimidation, legal threats, and brutal violence over their efforts to protect the planet and its resources.

Alex Soros, a young philanthropist who established the Alexander Soros Foundation in 2012, believes recognition of these advocates is long overdue. Accordingly, each year the foundation honors environmental defenders with the ASF Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Environmental and Human Rights Activism. Winners to date include Liberian activist Silas Siakor [2012]; Cambodian environmentalist Chut Wutty (posthumously: Chut Wutty was murdered in 2012) [2013]; Peruvian indigenous leaders Edwin Chota, Jorge Ríos Pérez, Leoncio Quincima Meléndez and Francisco Pinedo (posthumously: the four were murdered in 2014) [2014]; Congolese rights activists Alphonse Muhindo Valivambene and Bantu Lukumbo[2015]; and Papua New Guinea forest and land rights campaigner Palosualrea Pavol [2016].

In an October 2016 interview with Mongabay, Soros spoke about his work and the challenges facing environmental and human rights defenders.

Read more at Mongabay

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