Water is Life

People, wildlife and plants depend on clean water. Without clean water, life itself is impossible.

Pollution, overfishing, mining and dams threaten rivers and lakes—and the communities and ecosystems that depend on them.

Millions of people only have access to polluted drinking water, sickening their families. Indigenous communities are losing access to traditional fishing grounds. Lakes are disappearing, goundwater is dwindling due to worsening droughts and excessive consumption.

We partner with community leaders around the Pacific Rim to safeguard our water for future generations.

 
  • For me, this work is imperative. I can't not do it. I would be ashamed if something happened to Lake Baikal in my lifetime.
    Marina Rikhvanova, Goldman Environmental Prize Winner and Co-Founder, Baikal Environmental Wave, Russia
  • Every river needs a watcher.
    Tang He, Green Hunan, Water Protector and Partner in China
 
  • After Russia announces an oil pipeline through Lake Baikal, our longtime partner Marina Rikhvanova leads a national campaign that convinces President Putin to reroute the pipeline. Marina receives the prestigious Goldman Prize for her courageous actions protecting the "Galapagos of Russia."
  • Salmon are critical to the ecological balance of Pacific Rim rivers and oceans. We help partners protect fragile salmon habitat from poachers and preserve access to rivers for indigenous fishermen.
  • Industrial water pollution sickens people and destroys river and lake ecosystems. We help citizens patrol rivers, identify pollution and pressure polluters to clean up their act.
  • Dams destroy the ecology of rivers, worsen pollution problems, displace communities and contribute to climate change and flooding. We work with communities to keep rivers free flowing.
  • Placer gold mining, an outdated technique used during the California gold rush, destroys entire river basins, pollutes drinking water and threatens indigenous livelihoods. We help local communities stop destructive gold mining practices.
  • Partners
  • Overfishing
  • Pollution
  • Dams
  • Mining
Rivers are rich in biodiversity—and endure the highest level of human activity.
Rivers and streams are our main source of clean drinking water. (Photo: Igor Shpilenok)
Our partners help citizens learn how to monitor pollution on their hometown rivers and streams.
Our partner Alexei Gribkov fights destructive gold mining on Russian rivers.
 

Helping Local People Protect Rivers and Lakes

Throughout the Pacific Rim, once pristine rivers and lakes struggle for survival as human activity is relentlessly encroaching on them.

Local people depend on healthy, clean rivers and lakes and are often their fiercest guardians. These waters provide drinking water and food, habitat for local wildlife, and space for recreational activities and relaxation.

Our Strategy

Pacific Environment partners with frontline water protectors to design and implement community-led solutions that protect water bodies and the greater ecological health of the Pacific Rim region.

Trainings: We teach partners technical skills: how to conduct field investigations or get pollution information released to the public.

Legal Support: We train partners to use environmental laws and connect them with law students to prepare legal cases.

Citizen Networks: We train partners in community outreach to build ever-expanding citizen patrols that monitor and report pollution to the public and government officials.

Our Impact

Together with our local partners, we stop mining activities in parks and wilderness areas through field investigations and legal action.

We help partners bring some of the first grassroots-led public interest environmental lawsuits in China.

We build large volunteer networks that patrol lake shores and river banks and report toxic pollution to local authorities and the public to push for swift clean-up. One example is the network that our partner Green Hunan has built in China, which now covers all of Hunan Province.

We unite local and indigenous people against salmon poaching and establish local river patrols that collaborate with local police and park rangers to track down commercial poachers, seize their equipment, and bring them to justice.

We collaborate with business owners and local environmental protection bureaus to improve water, waste and sewage management.

We monitor dams and advocate for free-flowing rivers.

 
  • Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest and deepest lake. Its age and isolation have created one of the world’s richest and most unusual collections of freshwater flora and fauna, including 1,700 endemic plant and animal species.
  • Over 300 million people in China lack access to clean water and hundreds of thousands die each year from drinking polluted water.
  • Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula has some of the richest salmon runs in the Pacific, supporting diverse ecosystems and a $3 billion dollar fishing industry.
  • China is completing one of the world’s largest engineering projects, the South-North Water Transfer. It will bring water from the rich Yangtze River basin in the North to the water-scarce Yellow River basin in the South.