The Lost Defenders

Mika Yamaguchi and Orion Cruz

11 Dec 2015, 4:30 - 5:30pm

Room T015, HEC Paris, Paris



11 Dec 2015
4:30 - 5:30pm


Room T015, HEC Paris
1 Rue de la Libération
Jouy-en-Josas, Paris,  78350
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The Lost Defenders of the Environment calls attention to the identities of 991 documented environmental activists who were killed or the victims of enforced disappearances from 2002 to 2014 in thirty-nine countries.

“Last year saw an increase in murders relating to hydropower projects, with mining, agribusiness and logging also among the key drivers. Disputes over the ownership, control and use of land formed a backdrop to nearly all of the fatalities. Indigenous groups are increasingly finding themselves on the frontline of the scramble for land and natural resources, accounting for 40% of killings in 2014.

Publicly available information about the perpetrators of killings is limited, but among the well-documented cases from 2014, we found 10 related to paramilitary groups, 8 to the police, 5 to private security guards, and 3 to the military. The true orchestrators of these crimes mostly escape investigation, but available information suggests that large landowners, business interests, political actors and agents of organized crime are often behind the violence.” (Global Witness, 2015)

The Lost Defenders of the Environment is a solemn projection of the names and dates of death or enforced disappearance of environmental activists in thirty-nine different countries. The film runs approximately 30 minutes long and is accompanied by immersive narratives and sound. Designers Mika Yamaguchi and Orion Cruz invite you to join them at HEC Paris on December 11th at 4:30 to recognize the 991 individuals who were killed or disappeared from 2002 to 2014. Photography and sharing The Lost Defenders is strongly encouraged; you will be witness to the only global commemoration of environmental activists who sacrificed their safety and ultimately their lives, courageous mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers, who are seldom seen in mass media or recognized for their dangerous plights. While the earth grieves silently, these stories from the frontlines of environmental degradation will be heard in Paris. The Lost Defenders is a free event and is recommended for ages 13 and above. After the viewing, Yamaguchi and Cruz will discuss the project content and issues regarding the deaths of environmental activists.

The Lost Defenders project examines the lack of conversations about the global struggle of a harrowing number of individuals, a great number whose perpetrators go unpunished. The Non-memorial is mobile and fleeting so it derives its significance from what it is not. It is not a memorial; it is not permanent; it does not provide closure, nor is it indicative of justice. It can be anywhere because it is nowhere, and it is nothing until leaders/governments make the changes necessary to prevent more deaths of environmental activists. The installation seeks to inspire action through the awareness of the shear number of known victims and convey that the struggle will continue until governments respond. Because the multitude of perspectives on, and experiences with, the climate crisis are not represented at the COP21, it is the people’s (civil society’s) responsibility to rise to action.


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