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

Conservation—It’s about the People

When recently a pod of 100 dolphins swam through Cu Lao Cham Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the coast of Central Vietnam, it got residents and park officials talking. It had been a long time since people spotted marine mammals in the coastal waters. Development and fishing had driven them away. “Maybe a big typhoon … 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

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

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

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

Russia Celebrates International Day of Rivers

First published on Rivers without Boundaries On March 14, 2014, at public hearings in the town of Mogocha, located in Zabaikalsky Province in eastern Russia near the border of China, local people endorsed an ambitious plan to develop a nature reserve on 330,000 hectares. This protected area is being designed to safeguard the upper flow of … 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

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

Protecting the Arctic Means Protecting Its People

With climate change melting Arctic ice at an ever alarming rate, we know big changes are in store for this pristine environment. But what impact will the big meltdown have on people? I have talked with climatologists who say that one big impact will be erratic weather. High pressure tends to center over the coldest … 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

Courage Trumps Fear

Aleksey Gribkov did not back down when Russia’s state security agencies harassed him and his organization to drop a lawsuit that ended up becoming a landmark legal victory for Russia’s environmental movement. But before I tell you Aleksey’s remarkable story, I’ll introduce you to one of the people who has helped build the foundation for … Read more

Zhao Zhong, a TIME Hero of the Environment, Joins Our China Team

I’m so thrilled to welcome Zhao Zhong, a TIME Hero of the Environment, to our China team. Zhao Zhong is an experienced and incredibly well-respected and successful grassroots leader. He founded Green Camel Bell, the first environmental organization in Gansu province in northwestern China, in 2003. A nuclear engineer by trade, Zhao Zhong came to … Read more