Record number of ecologists slain in 2020

A record number of environmental defenders were murdered last year, according to a report issued this week by advocacy group Global Witness. The report, "Last Line of Defense," counts 227 activists killed around the world in 2020—the highest number recorded for a second consecutive year. Many of the murders were linked to resource exploitation—logging, mining, agribusiness, and hydroelectric dams. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the organization found on average of four activists have been killed each week.

Those slain included South African activist Fikile Ntshangase, 65, who was leading the struggle against an open-cast mine near Somkhele in KwaZulu-Natal province. She was shot dead in her own living room in October.

Also profiled was Óscar Eyraud Adams, 36, who was murdered in Mexico last September. He was working to help the indigenous Kumiai community in Baja California secure access to local water sources. (BBC News, Sept. 13)