Joannah Stutchbury was an activist against environmental damage in her country of Kenya. In 2018, she resisted bulldozers threatening Kenya’s forest by sitting inside the digger, as can be seen from the image.
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Her activism work did not go unnoticed. She was considered to be a champion in the conservation community, especially due to the risk involved in protesting in places such as Kenya where activists are often threatened with violence.
Last week, she pulled up in her car at her home in Nairobi to find her driveway covered in fallen branches. As she left the car to clear the debris, she was shot several times. Her neighbours found her body in her car with all valuables still present indicating the murder was not motivated by robbery.
Joannah had received multiple death threats as a result of her environmental activism, especially as many of the protests she protested against where against corporations looking to destroy natural habit in the name of progress.
While the Kenyan Prime Minister condemned the attack, the country’s natural heritage and tourism is continually being threatened by urban development, often with links to powerful politicians.
What can we take from this story? Activism works, even if Joannah’s acts of protest led to her death. Even after she received death threats, she had the courage to stick to her principles and continue to use her voice for the cause that matter the most to her. Her death shows just how powerful her form of peaceful activism can be, especially in safer countries.
If you live in the western world such as the UK or the USA, use your voice to protest against projects that threaten the environment. The HS2 Rebellion movement that protests against the building of a high-speed train line that will rip through the British countryside is the perfect example. Protestors are unlikely to receive death threats yet their voices can be just as powerful as the protest continues to cause serious problems with the constructor company undertaking the development.
Use your voice, my friend on issues and causes that matter the most to you. Activism works. It’s time to save the planet, once peaceful act of rebellion at a time.
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(c) Samantha Wilson 2021. All Rights Reserved.