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

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

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

25 Years Later: Did We Learn Anything from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill?

This year’s traditional Iditarod dog sled race began, as usual, with great excitement along the snowy streets of my hometown, Anchorage, Alaska. Dogs yelped and cried, straining their harnesses, eager to leap into the air and run. Meanwhile, we Alaskans, dressed in bright, traditional parkas, were packed tightly on the sidewalks surrounding the staging areas. … 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

Creating a Strong Polar Code Is Our Priority

We all know climate change is having a huge impact here in the northland – and with it the Arctic Ocean is changing rapidly. Arctic sea ice is disappearing fast. Credible research now suggests that the Arctic may be ice free during the summer as early as this decade —84 years earlier than previously predicted … 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

Halting U.S. Financing for Coal Abroad

This summer was big for our efforts to halt public financing for fossil fuel projects. In June, President Obama launched a Climate Action Plan that calls for a partial ban on U.S. Government financing for coal plants abroad, except in limited circumstances. The ban includes U.S. taxpayer-backed financing for coal plants through federal agencies such as … Read more

A Win in Our Fight Against Dangerous Oil Spill Chemicals

Pacific Environment often opposes poorly planned oil drilling because of the grave risk of oil spill disasters. But it turns out even the clean-up can cause ecological and human disaster. Right now toxic chemicals can be used to clean up oil spills in U.S. waters. In the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill … 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

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

Tweeting Shuts Down Polluter

Brother Mao was walking along the Xiangtan River near his home of Xiangtan, Hunan Province, when he noticed thick red sewage streaming into the river from a nearby chemical plant. He quickly whipped out his cell phone and snapped a picture of the chemical assault on his town’s water supply. Then he uploaded it to … Read more