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

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

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

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

Forward on Climate – Impressions from a Day of Action

When I arrived at 1 Market Plaza in San Francisco this past Sunday, I saw an entire city block filled with people demanding  that President Obama block the Keystone XL pipeline and take action on climate change. This was the largest environmental rally in San Francisco history, with 5,000 participants, and  the largest nation-wide environmental … 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

Bean Sprout Theater: Learning to Love the Environment

At the stage of Flower Theater in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, a group of environmental volunteers engaged in a strange but wonderful rehearsal. Each of them took a deep breath, and then…well, if you closed your eyes you might hear breezes whispering in your ears, or the symphony of a lush virgin forest, a variety … Read more