Will the Paris Deal Protect the Most Vulnerable?

On the last day of the Paris Climate Summit, I sat without internet at a related Arctic symposium. The plus side was that I paid attention to the speakers rather than checking my email. The downside was that I sat in suspense, wondering if the long-awaited agreement from the international talks would be announced. I … Read more

The Arctic Offers a Glimpse Into Our Planet’s Future

This past summer an important thing happened in America’s Arctic. President Obama, who previously had only stopped in Alaska to refuel Air Force One, decided to spend some quality time with us to explore our magnificent landscapes. And he fell in love—not only with our jaw-dropping scenery, but also with our vibrant Alaska Native cultures. … Read more

The Real Heroes of Paris

About two months ago, I ran into an old neighbor—I’ll call him Jim—and he got really excited when he heard I was going to Paris. He was following the news about the upcoming Climate Summit, and he was worried. He feared nothing would get done, that the world’s leaders would dither and argue and not … Read more

Climate Justice for Coastal Communities

As sea level rises, low-lying coastal communities around the world are facing the prospect of relocation. Some of these communities are on remote islands that many have never heard of. Others may be familiar to Americans from the west coast of Alaska and Washington State, and from the bayous of Louisiana. Many of these communities … Read more

The Elephant in the Room in Paris

It’s no small irony that many of the small island nations most at risk from rising sea levels such as the Marshall Islands are also some of the foremost countries for ship registries. Called by some the “elephant in the room,” meaningful commitments to reduce emissions from shipping are critical to containing climate change. Shipping … Read more

The People Speak in Paris: Climate Art and Action

I grew up attending environmental and peace rallies with my family. So as the closed door negotiations of the Paris climate talks begin, I find myself particularly interested in how folks on the ground are creatively expressing the truth about what needs to happen in the talks. Mass gatherings in Paris aren’t allowed, but people … Read more

“Monsieur, there’s coal in my popcorn!”

Today is the first day of the U.N. climate change conference. Thousands of people are coming to Paris to be heard. The metro is free today, streets are crowded. With 180 countries participating in the negotiations, everyone seems hopeful that this climate summit will be the one where an agreement on a global reduction of … Read more

Will Human Rights Prevail Again in Paris?

Arriving in Paris amid intensive security, over 40,000 people are anticipated to attend the international climate summit this week and next. The attendees include 10,000 delegates from 195 countries, in addition to thousands of journalists, NGOs, scientists, and activists. This will be the biggest diplomatic event to be held in France since the United Nations … Read more

I’m Grateful Children Are Using Courts to Challenge Climate Change

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” There are days when I find myself doubting the truth of that wisdom, popularized by Martin Luther King Jr. But a distinguishing characteristic of environmentalists is our persistent optimism that we can overcome even the largest obstacles and persevere. And there’s a … 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

Our Top 7 Wins of 2014

It has been a banner year for us and our local partners on the frontlines of environmental justice around the Pacific Rim. Here are seven accomplishments I’m especially proud of; they would not have been possible without your support.   Preserving Untouched Wilderness The Russian Far East is a region of unparalleled wilderness, rich in … Read more

New Strategies for Conservation Success in Russia

Russia’s Far East and Arctic are regions of unparalleled wilderness, rich in biodiversity and vast intact ecosystems. The region is also home to dozens of indigenous cultures, endangered wildlife, and forests so vast they are only rivaled by the Amazon’s. Over the past two years, Pacific Environment has worked with dozens of community leaders, conservationists, … 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

Partner Wins 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize

With all of the negative attention Russia is receiving in the news lately, it’s easy to overlook the many inspiring people who are fighting for social and environmental justice in Russia. One such courageous activist is Suren Gazaryan, winner of a 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize for challenging government corruption and environmental degradation—at great personal risk. … Read more