Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Joanna Stuchburry

Joanna Stuchburry, seen here in file photos, is recognized for having helped save Kiambu forest from development.

'This Is Sickening': Forest Defender Joanna Stuchburry Shot to Death in Kenya

Stuchburry's efforts to defend Kiambu forest and work "fighting for the rest of us" drew renewed praise.

Andrea Germanos

Conservation advocates across the globe expressed sadness Friday in response to the killing of environmental defender Joanna Stuchburry outside her Nairoibi area home in Kenya.

The news was first shared on social media by renowned Kenyan wildlife conservationist and writer Dr. Paula Kahumbu, who tweeted that Stuchburry "was shot four times in her driveway" on Thursday and that "nothing was stolen" during the event.

According to the local Kenyans.co.ke, which spoke to her neighbors, Stuchburry was ambushed. "The gang waylaid her at around 5 pm as she was strolling in the neighborhood," the outlet reported.

"At the time of her death," said Fridays for Future-Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA), Stuchburry "was defending the Kiambu forest against developers."  

"Kenya seems to be a deadly country for environmental activists," added Fridays for Future-MAPA, which also pointed the killing ivory and rhino horn detective Esmond Bradley Martin, who was stabbed to death in 2018 at his home in Kenya.

Stuchburry's killing also elicited responses from U.S.-based consumer advocate Erin Brockovich and Kenya-based climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti, who both referenced the broader war land- and environmental-defenders face worldwide.

"This is sickening. This is a war. There are lives being lost. Lives taken silently by the poisoning and destruction of the earth and those murdered fighting for the rest of us," said Brockovich.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also condemned the killing.

"For the longest time, Joanna has been a steadfast champion for the conservation of our environment and is remembered for her relentless efforts to protect Kiambu forest from encroachment," he said in Friday statement.

Kenyatta also vowed that authorities would "pursue and apprehend the criminals behind the killing" and not allow "misguided individuals to continue shedding blood of innocent people working hard to make Kenya a better place for all of us."

Julius Kamau, the chief conservator of forests, paid homage to Stuchburry's "selfless" work to protect the Kiambu Forest Reserve and said her efforts would "not go in vain."

Fridays for Future-Kenya is calling on Kenya's Directorate of Criminal Investigations to "speed up the investigations" into Stuchburry's killing "and bring the culprits to book."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Sanders, Top Dems Optimistic Party Will 'Come Together' for Reconciliation Package

However, House leaders warn they may miss a September 27 deadline to consider Senate-approved infrastructure legislation that progressives will only support alongside a $3.5 trillion bill.

Jessica Corbett ·


Report on Revolving Door and Tax Policy Sparks Calls for Federal Probe and Reforms

"This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·


'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo