November 2012 Online Update 
Celebrating 25 Years 



As Thanksgiving approaches, communities are gathering together not only to give “thanks” but to focus on “giving.” Since Hurricane Sandy hit last month, there has been an outpouring of  kindness, generosity, and selfless acts from all over the nation. Our thoughts go out to all the communities who have been affected by the storm and now bravely take on the challenge of repairing their homes, businesses, and communities. In the weeks that followed the hurricane, we have seen a shift in how the media and the public are talking about climate change. And as the Pacific Institute enters our 25th Anniversary year, our work on social vulnerability to climate change and climate change resilience planning has never been more crucial. Our efforts continue.

As we gather this Thanksgiving, all of us at the Pacific Institute wish to thank our community of supporters for a wonderful 25 years. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

New Website Launched for WeTap – the Water Fountain Locating Mobile App




The Pacific WeTap Institute has launched a new website for WeTap – the free smartphone application that uses crowd-sourced mapping to enable people to find public drinking water fountains. The new website allows users to quickly and easily look up information about public drinking water fountains on an international database of fountains with information on the fountain’s location, condition, and quality. It also includes the story behind the making of WeTap and a timeline with stories and facts from the history of water fountains and bottled water.


The Pacific Institute, in collaboration with Google, created WeTap to help address a major water challenge: finding, supporting, and expanding the nation’s public drinking water fountains. WeTap makes the public water fountain easy to find – and helps add new ones to the public database. Valuing tap water – both the quality and access – is an important step to ensure our water remains safe, tasty, and protected. For more information, visit


The application can be downloaded to your Android phone or tablet here.  


Blogs by Peter Gleick  



- Good Science, Bad Science, Uncertain Science






Releasing Trapped Knowledge in the WASH Sector: Empowering Residents to Implement Solutions
Releasing Trapped Knowledge in the WASH Sector: Empowering Residents to Implement Solutions
Peter Gleick: Water & Society
Peter Gleick: Water & Society




Celebrating 25 Years


The Pacific Institute marked 25 years of research for people and the planet with a celebration on October 25 in our Oakland Preservation Park office. Current and former staff, board members, and local community partners gathered together to toast the occasion, the first of our 25th Anniversary celebration events (watch for more in the New Year!). President and co-founder Peter Gleick addressed the gathering with anecdotes on the Institute’s history and impact, and was honored with a framed montage of covers from the nine books he has authored. The celebration featured a photo slide show of Pacific Institute people and events throughout the years and a video of current staff speaking on what it has meant for them to work at the Institute. A Pacific Institute timeline on the wall traced our quarter-century history and was dotted with publications and on-the-ground landmarks achieved in environmental sustainability and justice.

For twenty-five years, the Institute has been dedicated to protecting our natural world and advancing sustainable development, social equity, and global security. We want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to our colleagues and supporters: you’ve played an important part in this mission and we thank you for it. Here’s to another wonderful and effective 25 years!

Terry Asbury and Shirley Brown catch a few minutes of Giants baseball game during the party.
President Peter Gleick and Senior Research Associate Juliet Christian-Smith stand in front of the Pacific Institute timeline.
Finance and Operations Manager Cindy Foley and Board Member Peter Boyer


Board members and our community partners share a laugh.
Research Associates (from left to right): Mai-Lan Ha, Kris Ongoco, and Kristina Donnelly


CEO Water Mandate Convenes Multi-stakeholder Sessions in South Africa


ceo_water_ mandate_logo.jpg The CEO Water Mandate convened numerous multi-stakeholder sessions in Rosebank, South Africa on October 10-11 to help further define and advance good corporate water stewardship practice. These sessions focused on the Mandate’s current core workstreams: 1) corporate water disclosure; 2) business, water, and human rights; and 3) water-related collective action. They sought to introduce, explain, and garner feedback on recent Mandate publications and tools (i.e., Water Action Hub, Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines, Guide to Water-Related Collective Action, and Bringing a Human Rights Lens To Corporate Water Stewardship) and determine how they can be effectively implemented on-the-ground, especially in South Africa. The Mandate’s next multi-stakeholder working conference is currently planned for early-March in Mumbai, India.


Read more on the CEO Water Mandate.  

New Report Looks to Increasing Agricultural Water Supply Reliability through Transition from Water Storage to a Landscape of Retention   


ceo_water_ mandate_logo.jpg The California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply (CRWFS) released the new report, From Storage to Retention: Expanding California’s Options for Meeting Its Water Needs. Pacific Institute’s agriculture and water expert Dr. Juliet Christian Smith, also a member of the CRWFS, contributed to the newest report which builds on earlier work focused on agricultural water stewardship, and argues for an expansion of approaches to storing water that increase supply reliability for specialty crop agricultural production and other beneficial uses while protecting ecosystem health.


The report highlights a conceptual shift in water management that it holds is a necessary underpinning of effective water storage, and also recommends a set of priority actions that constitute high-leverage opportunities to improve California’s water storage capacity and management.


Read more.
Download the

Sustainable Water Jobs Convening with Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Wisconsin


Fifteen leading practitioners in the green jobs sector attended the sustainable water jobs convening.


With a quarter century of work in sustainable water resources, the Pacific Institute is conducting a comprehensive analysis of green jobs in the water sector – one of the most important and least well understood resource sectors in the United States. The research provides an analysis of the characteristics of occupations associated with sustainable water practices and whether sustainable water practices could provide pathways out of poverty for low-income communities.

As part of that effort, the Pacific Institute brought together 15 leading practitioners from organizations across the nation working to link disadvantaged communities with green jobs in the water sector. The convening, held on October 12 -14, was graciously hosted by the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Racine, Wisconsin. Participants offered key insights into the challenges and successes they have witnessed, and provided feedback on how the Pacific Institute research will be used in practice and where efforts may be focused to take full advantage of opportunities for sustainable water jobs.


Learn more about green job opportunities in the water sector here.


Climate Change Survivor Game Debuts at WillowFest in West Oakland, California

Research Associate Kris Ongoco shows a community member how to play “Climate Change Survivor,” a new game developed with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition’s Resilience and Adaptation Subcommittee.


The Pacific Institute, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, and the Oakland Climate Action Coalition co-sponsored WillowFest, a neighborhood festival that helped raise awareness about how Oakland residents can better prepare and protect themselves from local climate change impacts like coastal flooding, poor air quality, wildfire risk, and extreme heat. The neighborhood festival took place at Willow Park in West Oakland on Saturday, October 27. The family-friendly event featured musical performances and the debut of “Climate Change Survivor,” an interactive game about building resilience to climate change impacts developed with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition’s Resilience and Adaptation Subcommittee. Subcommittee members also distributed community-friendly fact sheets listing actions that Oakland residents can take to build resilience to climate change impacts at home and in their neighborhood.


Read more about climate change adaptation in Oakland.  


After 23 Years at the Institute, Pat Brenner Retires

Patricia Brenner (middle) stands with the two co-founders of the Pacific Institute, Ronnie Lipschutz (left) and Peter Gleick.


Patricia Brenner, director of administration and finance, retired at the end of September after  23 years of service at the Pacific Institute. Family, friends, and coworkers gathered at Preservation Park in Oakland, California to celebrate her retirement and her invaluable contributions that have helped the Institute successfully carry out its mission. During the evening, staff members shared memories and extended personal thanks to Ms. Brenner for her commitment to the Institute and her skill in helping shape the organization’s administration, community, and network. We thank Pat from the bottom of our hearts for all of her dedication and good spirit and wish her every happiness in retirement. You will be missed, Pat!


Report from Circle of Blue   

AWS BAnner
of Blue, an affiliate of the Pacific Institute, is the international network of journalists, scholars, and citizens that connects humanity to the global freshwater crisis.



In late November, Circle of Blue begins a new round of reporting on the water-food-energy nexus in India. The project is part of “Global Choke Point,” a partnership with the Wilson Center that is reporting on water scarcity issues around the world. J. Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue director, just returned from the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council meetings in Dubai. Mr. Ganter is vice-chairman of the council on water security. 


New Staff Joins the Pacific Institute

ceo_water_ mandate_logo.jpg
Pete Stanga, COO

The Pacific Institute welcomes new Chief Operating Officer Pete Stanga and Popular Education Associate Ariana de Leña. Mr. Stanga has worked in the fields of Human Rights and International Development, focusing much of his career on increasing the quantity and quality of funding for locally run initiatives in the global South. Before joining the Institute, he served as Executive Director of Grantmakers without Borders, International Development Exchange, The Foundation for Sustainable Development, and Peace Brigades International/USA.


Popular Education Associate Ariana de Leña

Ariana de Leña joins the Community Strategies Program as Popular Education Associate. In this role, she will work with community and coalition partners to develop and pilot community education activities and materials on a range of issues including building resilience to climate change and addressing the health impacts of freight transport operations. Prior to joining the Institute’s staff, Ms. de Leña served as an Emerson Hunger Fellow in Washington, D.C. working to combat hunger and poverty. She previously interned at the Pacific Institute to compile our first-ever curriculum guide: Gearing up for Action: A Curriculum Guide for Freight Transport Justice.  


In Brief  



Pacific Institute staff members gave talks and lectures, conducted workshops, and participated on panels far and wide this month. Here are some of the places we’ve been:


Dr. John Akudago, International Water and Communities Senior Research Associate
- gave a presentation, with Meena Palaniappan, on releasing trapped knowledge in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Sector to empower residents to Implement Solutions using the Engineering for Change Webinar. The recorded version can be viewed on YouTube here.

- gave a talk on responding to emergencies with water and sanitation facilities at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He shared his experiences from responding to the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Japan Tsunami disasters.  


Peter Gleick, President:
- gave the lecture”The Soft Path for Water: Concept and Application” at the Eco-Summit in Columbus, Ohio.
- spoke at the Chicago Ideas Week on climate change, shared water international resources, and security and conflict.
- participated in the Siebel Scholars Conference.
- spoke at the “Connections between Energy and Water” session at the Council for Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) in Berkeley, Calif.
- discussed
the future of water challenges and suggestions for moving toward a more equitable and sustainable future at the SPUR Urban Center in San Francisco, California. View presentations from that night here.


Catalina Garzón, Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program Co-Director:
- was interviewed by Jerry Kay of EarthNews as part of a video series for the Switzer Foundation profiling the leadership and accomplishments of Switzer Fellows on a variety of environmental issues.


Misha T. Hutchings, International Water and Communities Research Associate:
- presented the WASH SMS and Community Choices projects in two panel events at the UNC Water and Health 2012 Conference in Chapel Hill. The sessions focused on the increasing and innovative use of mobile phones and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) that help to make it easier for WASH organizations and a range of their stakeholders to collect information, share information resources, and analyze data for the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector.


Eli Moore, Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program Co-Director:
- presented research on indicators of social equity and vulnerability to climate change to a convening of state and federal agencies, researchers, and environmental health and justice leaders organized by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The convening was co-hosted by the Center for Regional Change at UC Davis with the goal of providing input on the Governor’s Environmental Goals and Policy Report. For maps, data, and analysis on social vulnerability to climate change in California, see:


Jason Morrison, Globalization Program Director
- attended a meeting in Washington, D.C. of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), a global multi-stakeholder initiative working to develop a certification standard for good water management practice. The Pacific Institute is a co-founding organization of the AWS.
- served on the panel “Managing Water Risk, Building Sustainable Growth” at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Water Leadership Forum in San Diego, Calif. The panel addressed issues such as how companies can cooperate at both a basin and international level to minimize their exposure to water scarcity, as well as whether companies are really aware of their exposure to water risk across their value chains.
- served as the moderator for a conference on Pursuing Economic Growth in a Water-Scarce 21st Century, co-organized by the UNEP Financial Initiative (UNEP-FI) and the French-headquartered bank, Societe Generale. The conference featured speakers from financial institutions, industry, research organizations, and NGOs representing different perspectives on what the financial sector can be doing to hedge water risk and identify opportunities. Conference presentations are available
here as is the recently released UNEP-FI 3rd issue of the Chief Liquidity Series that focuses on water challenges and opportunities in the extractives sector.


Peter Schulte, Globalization Program Research Associate:
- spoke at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ 2012 Global Humanitarian Technology Conference in Seattle about global water challenges, how they affect industry, and what role business can play in sustainable water management.

In the News

- Michael Cohen spoke with Keith Matheny on the lack of federal funds being allocated to restore the Salton Sea in this Desert Sun article.


- Charlie Anders of Gizmodo interviewed Peter Gleick on the topic of climate change and its impact on extreme weather events in this article.

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