Local Solutions to Global Plastic Pollution

Yu Jianfeng recently started fighting “white pollution,” as people in China call plastic pollution based on the ubiquity of discarded white plastic bags. “Plastic is a really big problem for rivers,” he said. “It is eaten by fish and other wildlife and its toxic chemicals can move up the food chain. It affects individual species, … Read more

Three Things I’m Grateful for This Year

Earlier this month, I was in a rural area of China, up in a mountain village whose residents—mostly small-plot farmers and proprietors of small tourist hostels—had agreed to participate in a project to try to reduce the plastic waste of the village. The villagers quickly learned that almost all their waste was plastic waste from … Read more

Kicking the Coal Habit Moves to the Mainstream in China

By: Deng Ping and Kristen McDonald Originally published in The Huffington Post What is one sure-fire way to reduce devastating pollution in China, decrease carbon emissions and stabilize the economy? Cool down the country’s overheated coal industry. And in fact, that’s exactly what energy and development regulators are trying to do. Let’s review some recent … Read more

Coal Declines Worldwide – Even in China

“Worldwide, for every new coal plant built, two have been shelved or cancelled since 2010…. In China, coal use declined in 2014, signaling the start of a shift towards greater reliance on renewable energy. And, in the U.S., over 77,000 megawatts of coal energy have retired or are slated to retire.” This good news comes … Read more

Building a Cleaner China From the Grassroots Up

First published in China-US Focus In a mid-sized industrial city in China, a staff member of the environmental group Green Hope answers her cell phone. On the line is a middle manager at Pearl Steel Group who is calling to ask about a report Green Hope issued on air pollution from the company’s nearby flagship … Read more

Keeping the Amur River Wild and Free

The Amur River is the largest, still free-flowing river in Asia, and its basin the most biodiverse region in Russia. But its vast forests, wetlands, and steppes, as well as its endemic tigers, leopards, cranes, and bears are threatened by a voracious demand for energy and natural resources. Drawing on lessons learned over the past … Read more

Public Participation and Public Protest in China

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection recently reported that there was a 31% rise in mass environmental protests during 2013. The statistic highlights the growth of “NIMBY” (not in my backyard) environmentalism in China, and it comes as no surprise given already excessive pollution levels faced by communities across the country. To many, the prospect of … Read more

Grassroots Organizations Will Help China Move Away From Coal

First Published in the Huffington Post President Obama’s new carbon rule elicited a seemingly strong reaction from China: a pledge to institute a national carbon cap by 2016. But does China’s pledge have teeth? We argue yes, but only if grassroots organizations and citizens put increasing pressure on the government to reduce the country’s reliance on … Read more

Pacific Environment Welcomes Sun Qingwei as China Climate Coordinator

China has recently been generating a tremendous amount of news because of its pressing need to decrease air pollution and build a clean energy future. This is a heavy undertaking, as China is the world’s leading producer and consumer of coal.  To help reduce coal pollution in China, Pacific Environment just hired Sun Qingwei, who … Read more

Cleaner Energy for Cleaner Air in China

Air pollution is strongly linked to premature death in China. According to a study by the World Health Organization, it contributed to some 1.2 million deaths in 2010. The country’s top officials have pledged to declare a war on smog. Yet coal, the main culprit in this tragedy, still rules China’s energy sector. In March … Read more

How to Build a Grassroots Climate Change Movement in China

Zhao Zhong joined Pacific Environment’s China team one year ago. After a successful career at the helm of Green Camel Bell, a grassroots environmental group based in Gansu Province, Zhao Zhong was eager to help share his skills with other up-and coming grassroots leaders. As Pacific Environment expands to the air pollution and energy sphere … Read more

China’s Water Watchdogs

First published in China Water Risk Mao Ge is a volunteer from the small city of Xiangtan, Hunan Province. He was contacted two years ago by our partner Green Hunan to join a network of river monitors who would get to know their stretch of the Xiang River, investigate pollution sources, and report on problems they … Read more

Announcing the 2013 Whitley Award Winner Eugene Simonov

Pacific Environment is proud to announce the winner of the 2013 Whitley Award – our own Eugene Simonov. The award is well deserved; it recognizes Eugene’s talent, years of hard work, dedication, and his tremendous impact on the environment in his community and beyond. Eugene joined Pacific Environment as the Conservation Science Specialist in February 2013 … Read more

Among Coal’s Toxic Emissions

On April 3, 2013, I met two girls playing outside their rural home in the Xigu District near Lanzhou, in Gansu Province, China. Like most kids, they were playful and full of laughter, but unlike most kids, these girls are only allowed to play outside for a limited time every day. I traveled to Xigu … Read more

Harnessing Social Media to Challenge Coal in China

In China, where coal is king, Pacific Environment is harnessing the power of social media to show that the emperor is wearing some very dirty clothes. We just launched “The Problem with Coal,” a Chinese-language blog on Weibo.com, China’s hugely popular social networking site. It focuses exclusively on coal’s devastating impacts on people’s health and … Read more

The World’s Top 3 Climate Change Threats

Do you know what China, Australia, and the Arctic have in common? Apart from stunning scenery, it turns out that each is home to one of the 3 biggest threats to our global climate. Here governments and fossil fuel companies are pushing massive, carbon-intensive coal, oil, and gas projects that would cause climate disaster if … Read more

Coal: It’s What’s for Dinner

A while ago I stopped eating fish, in part because I worried that it might contain an unhealthy helping of mercury—a potent neurotoxin that can cause birth defects and brain damage. As it turns out, I had reason to worry: a new report on global mercury pollution by IPEN, an international organization that fights toxics, … Read more