Supporting Communities on the Frontlines
We must keep dirty coal in the ground if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Coal also has more immediate impacts. It causes dangerous air pollution that makes people sick, pollutes drinking water and rivers, and destroys wildlife habitat.
We collaborate with local communities to protect people’s health and to accelerate a just transition to a clean energy economy.
- Where once there were clean streams, places where people went to fish, wash and drink, there is now only lifeless water visibly contaminated by coal mining.Vladimir Slivyak, of former partner Ecodefense, on the Kuzbass region in Russia
- Pacific Environment has a unique approach to coal in China: It creates public awareness of coal problems and engages grassroots organizations in solving them. No one has done this before and I've witnessed Pacific Environment having a lot of success.Dr. Sun Qingwei, Director, China Air and Water Program, National Geographic Society
Building Citizen Power
Although many governments have agreed to reduce their reliance on coal for energy, coal mining and burning continues around the Pacific Rim.
We partner with community leaders to hold companies and government officials accountable for life-threatening levels of air and water pollution from coal and to find shared solutions for a clean energy future.
A coal mine in central China heavily polluted the water of a nearby village. After two decades of tensions, a volunteer from a local environmental group armed the villagers with simple water test kits to collect pollution data. She also arranged a meeting between the villagers, the mine operators and the environmental authorities. As a result, the company agreed to improve its pollution control equipment and the village’s water quality improved.
When communities learn about the health harms of coal, and they realize that they are not alone in their suffering, the global movement to end our dependence on coal grows stronger.
We help local groups learn about the harmful health impacts of coal in their regions. We also train local leaders to bring this knowledge to their communities.
We help local groups monitor air and water pollution at coal facilities. Leaders alert local authorities when coal plants exceed pollution limits and put pressure on them to improve pollution treatment equipment.
Partners also ensure that coal plants are not built too close to residential areas, hospitals and schools. And they make sure coal plants do not violate their water permits.