Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Tourists

For generations, indigenous groups have been battling governments to protect their sacred lands. Danil Mamyev, a Pacific Environment partner and founder of the Uch-Enmek Nature Park in Russia’s Altai region, and Caleen Sisk, chief of the Winnemum Wintu tribe in northern California, are the key figures in a new documentary by Sacred Lands Film Project. … Read more

Snow Leopards Saved From Gas Pipeline

After years of local and international resistance, Russia’s oil giant Gazprom finally abandoned plans to build a gas pipeline that threatened indigenous cultural sites and untouched wilderness in the Altai Republic in Siberia. In the last decade, the construction of multi-national pipelines has received worldwide attention—the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. … Read more

Symbol of Environmental Mismanagement in Russia to Close

Perhaps helped along by the foul odor emanating from the notorious Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced on a recent visit that the hugely unpopular plant on Lake Baikal’s shore will finally close. Medvedev’s announcement is a big win in the decades-long battle fought by Pacific Environment and other international … Read more

Solar Power in Rural Siberia

Thanks to Oksana Engoyan, traditional shepherds now carry solar cells instead of diesel generators to their summer pastures in Altai’s mountains. Sandwiched along the border with Mongolia and China, Altai is a remote mountainous region in southern Siberia populated largely by herders and small farmers who have to deal with heating and electricity shortages on … Read more

The Curse of Crude

At least since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008 it’s been a common refrain throughout the world that countries must crank up resource extraction projects to stimulate economic development. It’s an easy argument – more resources equal more money which creates better economic conditions – and it’s also wrong. A New York Times … Read more

Russian NGOs Challenge “Foreign Agents” Label

  Since late last year, Russian NGOs that receive support from abroad are required to register as “foreign agents” under new legislation aimed at discrediting NGOs by labeling them with a term loaded with negative connotations left over from the Cold War. Russian NGOs, including Pacific Environment’s partners, have largely ignored the vague and contradictory … Read more

Taking the Temperature of U.S.-Russia Relations

You’ve heard the news: Non-governmental organizations in Russia that receive funding from abroad must now register as “foreign agents.” An American presidential candidate considers Russia to be America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” The Cold War may be over, but U.S.-Russian rivalries are alive and well. On November 15, I will participate in a livestream discussion … Read more