Posts Tagged ‘Mongolia’

Announcing the 2013 Whitley Award Winner – Eugene Simonov

Friday, May 3rd, 2013


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 Simonov enjoying himself in the wetlands of the Amur River Basin.

Eugene Simonov enjoying himself in the wetlands of the Amur River Basin.

Eugene joined Pacific Environment as the Conservation Science Specialist in February 2013 but his history with our organization goes as far back as 2001 when he was one of our strategic partners and advisors. Although he currently resides in Dalian, China, his scope of work includes China, Russia, Mongolia and the United States. Eugene has a degree in biology from Moscow State University, a Master’s degree in environmental science from the Yale University School of Forestry, and a doctorate in nature conservation from China’s Northeast Forestry University. Eugene has been working on transboundary issues with a special focus on the Amur River Basin, a highly complex watershed of northeastern China, the Russian Far East, and eastern Mongolia. Since 2009 Eugene has been a coordinator of Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition which was formed to address conservation of the aquatic environment of Northeast Asia.

Eugene’s work has shined a light on the devastating impacts of major dam infrastructure projects. His organization has been successful in removing several of the most large scale projects from the agenda, and with the Whitley Award he plans to focus his energy on diverting investment dollars away from more of these dam projects and towards sustainable energy alternatives.

In his acceptance speech on May 2, Eugene imagined taking a boat ride down the river from its headwaters in Siberia through the wetlands filled with cranes and geese and possibly spotting the legendary river monster. Eugene works to make his dream of a free flowing Amur river a reality for his son and daughter.

Congratulations Eugene!

Check Out This Video on Mapping Sacred Sites in Altai

Thursday, December 20th, 2007
Posted by David Gordon
An Indigenous Woman on the Altai Plateau
An Indigenous Woman on the Altai Plateau

Altai, nestled in southern Siberia to the west of Mongolia, to the east of Kazakhstan, and to the north of China, is an amazing area.  It’s known for its wildlands and beauty, as the landscape climbs from Siberian pine forests to alpine plateaus.

The Ukok Plateau – a vast plateau that is recognized as a World Heritage Site – is one area that Pacific Environment and our partners our trying to save.  The Russian government has announced plans to build a gas pipeline to China through the Altai, directly through the Ukok Plateau.  The project is led by Gazprom (note that Putin just anointed the chairman of Gazprom as his successor to become president of Russia).

Indigenous Altaians are extremely worried about the pipeline.  They point out that there are better routes for the pipeline that make more sense both economically and environmentally.  These routes, though, go through Mongolia or Kazakhstan, and Russia wants a direct pipeline to China – which means going through the Ukok Plateau.

One of the reasons indigenous Altaians are so worried is that this is a sacred area for their culture.  In addition to its environmental beauty, the Ukok Plateau is home to thousands of sacred sites.  We’re supporting Maya Erlenbaeva and the Foundation for Sustainable Development of Altai, a local organization, to map these sacred sites to that they can demonstrate the value of the Plateau.  Our friends at the Sacred Land Film Project visited Maya and the Foundation earlier this summer and produced a wonderful short video that shows Maya’s inspiring work.

Our efforts in Altai are going to ramp up in 2008, which promises to be an important year for deciding the fate of the Ukok Plateau.  We’re hopeful that we can convince the Russian government and Gazprom that there’s a better alternative than the Ukok Plateau for building a gas pipeline to China!  Click here to find out more about our campaign!

In the meantime, enjoy the video and the short journey it takes you to the sacred places of Altai in southern Siberia!