Stories from the Grassroots: The Greengrants Blog
Aug 21, 2015 | No Comments
By Julie Dugdale
Rampant water pollution isn’t breaking news in China. It’s a way of life.
The images are no longer shocking: children swimming in garbage-choked lakes; waterways congested by bloated, poisoned fish rotting at the surface; industrial pipes openly spewing torrents of chemical waste into rivers and reservoirs.
China’s Pollution Status Quo
The numbers paint as bleak a picture as the imagery. More than 42 percent of China’s rivers and 75 percent of its lakes and reservoirs are too severely polluted for human consumption and fishing, says International Rivers.
Perhaps more important, the increasing toxicity in water that serves as a drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing source coincides with an uptick in debilitating public health problems, such as the rise of the Chinese “cancer village.” More than 450 such epicenters of unexplained disease have cropped up around contaminated waterways.
The culprits are many: Power plants, chemical plants, dye factories, paper mills, metal smelters, and more have largely gone unregulated during China’s breakneck rate of industrialization.
It’s not uncommon for mega companies to pay off the poorest villages in exchange for waste dumping in their waterways.
Plus, more than 87,000 hydroelectric dams—meant to ease the country’s unrelenting dependence on coal energy to fuel its manufacturing surge—have wreaked havoc on the riparian ecosystems and forced people off their land.
Global Greengrants Gets Involved
Green Anhui: A Leader is Born
Citizens formed Green Anhui to lobby for industry transparency in the face of high cancer rates in Anhui Province, which is polluted largely by glass and chemical plants.
Global Greengrants was one of its first funders in 2005. Since then, Green Anhui has burgeoned into one of the country’s foremost grassroots leaders. It’s track record includes:
- Setting up nine volunteer stations along the Huai River for monthly pollution monitoring.
- Forming citizen groups to pursue environmental litigation, resulting in 15 successful lawsuits (many regarding fishermen’s rights and health issues).
- Creating a hazardous waste network to help industries more efficiently and effectively dispose of waste.
- Exerting influence on the government to enforce standards more stringently.
Today, Green Anhui is a model for other environmental initiatives across the country.
Green Qilu: Gaining Momentum
Launched in 2012, Green Qilu works in the Shandong Province to increase awareness of and engagement in the water pollution crisis, targeting both the public and the offending industries.
With Global Greengrants’ help, citizens have developed a Pollution Information Transparency Index, which scores the industries in Shandong’s cities on their pollution monitoring. The group deploys volunteers to dumping spots to test the pollutant levels, log the results in a public online database, and post permanent signs displaying legal contaminant levels.
Green Qilu’s approach is a diplomatic one that’s built strong relationships with stakeholders.
Grassroots efforts such as community river walks, school trips, and family outreach are ongoing and critical to Green Qilu’s mission, and have already rendered Shandong the leading province for pollution monitoring.
Aug 13, 2015 | No Comments
The Athi River is Kenya’s second longest waterway and one of its most endangered. Violet Matiru knows grassroots grants can help. A grant advisor in East Africa, Violet is strategically directing Greengrants to riverside communities. Her goal: to support the… Read more
Aug 10, 2015 | No Comments
By Kristall Laursen, Global Giving Network Manager Growing up poor in the Philippines, Hope Hervilla took a job on a banana plantation when she was a young girl. She made a mere $2 a day. It was backbreaking labor, but… Read more
Aug 3, 2015 | No Comments
By Carley St. Clair For 21 years, the drone of low-flying planes has been omnipresent throughout the state of Cauca, Colombia. Otherwise healthy people have had troubling breathing, babies have been born with birth defects, women have had miscarriage after… Read more
Jul 28, 2015 | No Comments
By Katy Neusteter, Director of Communications A year ago today, I was boarding a flight to Bali for the 2014 Summit on Women and Climate. I’ve been thinking a lot about that moment in my life. I had an 11-month-old… Read more
Jul 28, 2015 | No Comments
Every year, more than 700 grants are processed in our Boulder, Colorado, office and sent or wired to grant recipients around the globe. We are happy to welcome these new members to the Global Greengrants team! Jenna Daucunas, Development Administrative… Read more
Jul 27, 2015 | One Comment
By Nicole Schmitt, Grants Administrator Imagine if cities around the world united to address systemic social justice and environmental problems. On July 17, I attended a panel discussion at the Biennial of the Americas—a festival to celebrate ideas, culture, art,… Read more
Jul 27, 2015 | No Comments
Black communities affected by environmental toxins fight back against the corporations damaging their children's health. Read more
Jun 30, 2015 | No Comments
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the United States. Those first moments after I heard the news felt golden, giddy, like everything was coming together. It was an oasis; a mini-vacation from worrying about the state of Things. Read more
Jun 30, 2015 | No Comments
Photo by Juan Soriano Winnie Asiti, our Next Generation Climate Board advisor in Kenya, is profiled in VOA (Voice of America): “A young Kenyan activist is part of a fast-moving low cost-movement that is tackling the impact of global warming… Read more