A record number of environmental activists and defenders were killed in 2016 — at least 200 people in 24 countries, according to records compiled by the organization Global Witness. The list includes activists who were protesting dams, mines, logging or agriculture, as well as wildlife rangers, forest guards and indigenous peoples. Global Witness says the actual number of slain activists may be much higher, as many deaths go unreported. Will this number continue to rise? Global Witness has tracked at least 98 more murders in the first five months of 2017.

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John R. Platt

is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.

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