click here.

Health equity session

Fresno, Oakland, Los Angeles, Calif.

Part of an interactive session that will focus on the intersection of health and land use, and how where we live and work affects our health, Swati Prakash will speak on a panel at a California Pan-Ethnic Health Network convening. To register or for information on one of the three sessions, click here.



Los Angeles, Calif.
Part of the California Wellness Foundation Conference on Environmental Health, Swati Prakash will facilitate a panel discussion on “Building Coalitions for Occupational Health and Environmental Justice.”


Info Flow

Visit Circle of Blue’s recently-launched news desk. From breaking headlines and the latest research to emerging trends and success stories and challenges, WaterNews is the go-to source for comprehensive, engaging freshwater coverage.

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  Institute Efforts Aid Ganges River Cleanup

India Focus of Institute Initiative




Ganges RiverIndia‘s sacred river, the Ganges, supports over 400 million people, and for many, is an important symbol of purity. But as it travels along its 1,500-mile journey through India, over 1.4 billion liters of untreated waste water are dumped into it each day.

Joining local efforts to clean this crucial river, Pacific Institute Senior Research Associate Meena Palaniappan traveled to Varanasi, India in February. While there, she worked closely with the Sankat Mochan Foundation (SMF)–an organization that has worked to clean the Ganges for 25 years–to help shape and accelerate the new Ganga Action Plan, a revitalized government effort to finance the cleanup.

Joined by Pacific Institute Affiliate Dr. Bailey Green, Palaniappan conducted a series of workshops for SMF board and staff in strategies to change policy, use the media, and engage the public in cleaning the Ganges.

“For decades, cleaning efforts have been beset by bureaucratic and administrative failures, and river pollution has increased dramatically,” said Palaniappan. “But with the Indian Prime Minister extending his commitment of central government funds to expedite the process, there is a huge opportunity to ensure that this time, the technologies and strategies chosen to clean up the Ganga benefit the public, are technologically appropriate, and are actually implemented.”

During her three months in India, Palaniappan also developed partnerships and projects to expand the Pacific Institute’s international water and communities work.

Related news:






 Port of Oakland Commits to Reduce Diesel Pollution

Victory for Institute EJ Work


Port RallyThe Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a policy proposal that commits the Port to reduce its contribution to community health risks from diesel pollution by 85% over next 12 years.

The proposal also includes a container fee to defray the estimated $520 million clean-up costs.

The March 18 approval came the day after the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports rallied for cleaner, safer trucking industry standards. Hundreds of Teamsters, community members, environmentalists, and religious leaders marched from Oakland City Hall to the Port in support of the plan.

“We are pleased to see the Port making this significant commitment to reducing their diesel pollution, and to making sure that the private sector, which benefits the most from the Port’s activities, pays their fair share to clean up this pollution,” said Institute Program Director Swati Prakash at a board meeting testimony.

Related news:



 UN Convenes First CEO Water Mandate Conference

Institute Helps Organize Inaugural Conference


On March 5-6, the United Nations Global Compact Office convened the inaugural working conference of The CEO Water Mandate–an initiative that aims to provide a platform for companies and stakeholders to share best and emerging practices with respect to water stewardship and sustainability.

Co-organized by the Pacific Institute and held at UN Headquarters in New York City, the conference brought together stakeholders from all corners of the globe to share their ideas on the challenges and opportunities for Mandate implementation.

For more information, click here.

Related news:

CEO Water Mandate Convenes Inaugural Working Conference, The Financial (3/8)




   Study Finds Health Impacts on West Oakland Higher

Results Same As Institute Research


West Oakland TruckThe California Air Resources Board’s recently-released preliminary health risks assessment finds that West Oakland residents suffer disproportionately high health problems due to area pollution from port activities and freight transport.

In particular, the preliminary assessment found that cancer rates due to particulate matter from freight transport are five times higher in West Oakland.

This estimated cancer risk is the same risk estimated by the Pacific Institute in our 2003 pilot indoor air-monitoring study, published in the supporting materials for “Clearing the Air: Reducing Diesel Pollution in West Oakland.”

To read the Air Resource Board’s preliminary results, click here.


In Brief

Institute Welcomes New Staff Member

This month, we welcome the addition of our new Communications Director Nancy Ross to the Pacific Institute family. Ross is a specialist in communications for not-for-profit organizations, handling media relations, publication production, publicity, and outreach. Before joining the Pacific Institute, she was the Director of Public Relations for The New York Botanical Garden and its International Plant Science Center. Her experience also includes working for the American Red Cross, New York’s oldest opera house, and here in the Bay Area, the venerable graduate school California Institute of Integral Studies. She holds a B.A. in Mass Communications/Journalism from St. Bonaventure University and an M.F.A. from the State University of New York at Purchase.

Institute Redux Finds Prius (Still) Leaves Hummer in the Dust

A year after a faulty marketing report fueled an automotive face-off, the Pacific Institute, armed with newly released Consumer Reports data, returns to the Hummer versus Prius debate and finds the Prius is (still) more energy efficient over its lifetime than the Hummer. Read more.

Gleick To Give U.S. National Academy of Sciences Distinguished Lecture
On April 23, Peter Gleick will give the 2008 Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. To attend the free lecture, “A Sustainable Vision for Water in the Twenty-First Century,” click here.

Gordon Appointed as Port’s First Environmental Liaison
The Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners recently announced the appointment of Commissioner Margaret Gordon as their very first Environmental Liaison. Gordon, co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and former Pacific Institute staff member, is expected to serve as a link between port officials and the West Oakland community where she has lived for the past 16 years. For more information, click here.

Cooley Goes Deep into Desal
Join Senior Research Associate Heather Cooley April 8 as she delves into the advantages and disadvantages of desalination as part of the California Colloquium on Water at the University of California, Berkeley. To attend, click here. Then on April 21, Cooley will cross the pond to discuss financing desalination at the International Desalination Association and Global Water Intelligence conference in London.

Prakash Speaks on Health Impacts of Diesel Pollution
On March 13, Swati Prakash spoke on a panel on “Indoor and Outdoor Trigger Reduction” at the 2008 Pediatric Asthma Forum hosted by Regional Asthma Management & Prevention and the Children’s Hospital. To learn more about the health impacts of diesel pollution, read her presentation (PDF).


Workshop Aims To Develop Solutions for Health Impacts of Freight Transport
The Pacific Institute co-hosted a March 18 community workshop to develop community-based solutions to the health impacts of the Martinez Subdivision rail expansion in West County. Part of “Project 12898: Solutions for West County Land Use and Environmental Justice”–a CalTrans-funded partnership between the Pacific Institute, Contra Costa Health Services, the Neighborhood House of North Richmond, and West County Toxics Coalition–the workshop engaged West Contra Costa County residents concerned with trucks and trains in West County neighborhoods.

Institute Shares Potential of Water Efficiency
From the Nevada chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council to the California-based Restore the Delta, Heather Cooley discussed the potential of water conservation and efficiency with agencies and organizations across the West last month. Cooley continues April 9, as she advises the State Water Resources Control Board of ways to achieve water conservation and efficiency improvements in California.

Morikawa Presents at Water Conservation Showcase
On March 25, Mari Morikawa presented on the Pacific Institute-BSR report on Corporate Water Strategy at the annual PG&E Water Conservation Showcase in San Francisco. View the presentation here.

Morrison Attends Workshop on Improving Government Environmental Programs
On March 11-12, Institute program director Jason Morrison attended a two-day workshop hosted by the Regulatory Policy Program at Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government that explored the results, outcomes, and potential improvements of state and federal performance-based environmental programs. Co-sponsored by the U.S. EPA, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), and the Multi-State Working Group on Environmental Performance (MSWG), the conference was attended by a range of key stakeholders from academia, government, industry, and NGOs.


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