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We are thrilled to shine this week’s Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) Partner Spotlight on Pacific Environment!

Pacific Environment protects people, wildlife, and ecosystems by promoting grassroots activism, strengthening communities, and shaping international policies. In its fight for healthy oceans, the organization leads international campaigns and collaborates with local communities to establish marine protected areas and sensible ship routing measures, and it fights the rising tide of plastic pollution. These efforts seek to create a world in which ocean life is healthy and abundant, and local communities help drive coastal and marine conservation and stewardship.


Pacific Environment works with partners like Dr. Xuan Thi Quach (center) of C4SD, who is trying to change how Vietnam produces, uses, and disposes of its trash, especially plastics. Last fall, along with co-sponsors Pacific Environment and GAIA, she kicked off the first Vietnamese Zero Waste Alliance meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam to move forward towards a zero waste future and stemming the flow of plastic trash into our oceans. Photo: Pacific Environment


Pacific Environment builds networks of grassroots environmentalists and offers funding and mentoring. In the Russian Far East and China, the organization has helped partners develop marine initiatives like the International Bering Sea Forum and the Save China Seas Network to address the pressing concerns of coastal communities. Pacific Environment also collaborates with grassroots leaders in Alaska, California, and Vietnam, where it recently started advocating for zero waste solutions to the problem of ocean trash in collaboration with local partners and the Break Free From Plastic movement. Pacific Environment complements its grassroots-led efforts with national and international coalition building to put direct advocacy pressure on decision-makers to create policies that resolve the root causes of environmental challenges.


Verner Wilson, (sixth person from the left) wearing a sealskin vest his grandmother made, was one of six Arctic indigenous leaders who helped convince international policy makers that it’s time to take action against heavy fuel oil that threatens ocean life. Pacific Environment supports Indigenous Arctic leaders to gain representation at the U.N.’s International Maritime Organization. Photo: IMO


At the International Maritime Organization (IMO), where Pacific Environment has earned rare consultative status, it works to protect marine ecosystems through shipping regulations. Pacific Environment also plays a leading role in domestic and international coalitions that seek to halt offshore oil and gas drilling and manage the anticipated harm of an exponential increase in ship traffic on communities, wildlife, and the ocean. It is also a key organizer and advocate for strong marine protections in the U.S. Arctic and a founding member of the Clean Arctic Alliance and Clean Up Carnival coalition, two international campaigns seeking to ban dangerous heavy fuel oil from Arctic waters to protect marine wildlife and coastal communities from catastrophic oil spills.


The Golden Princess (a Carnival brand) docked in Whittier, having just arrived with its passengers lining the railings to see the tiny town of only 214 people. Pacific Environment is calling on the cruise giant to stop using one of the world’s cheapest and dirtiest fossil fuels—heavy fuel oil—on ships traveling in fragile Arctic and sub-Arctic waters. Photo: DJ Tyson


We asked Pacific Environment why they became a GLORES Partner: 

“One of our organization’s long-term priorities is to establish a network of strong protective designations to safeguard coastal waters and critical ecological areas in the Arctic and Pacific oceans. To be successful, we need to ensure that the world’s best MPAs are recognized and receive benefits for their conservation efforts. The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) provides that recognition to deserving MPAs.”