Christopher Plante


World Environment Day: Using Leverage for Environmental Progress

June 3, 2009


I think it was in Bangkok in 1995 where I first met Dr. Chirapol Sintunawa.  He gave me a tour of his sustainable development experiments, which included passive solar building design, eco-friendly landscaping, and the first environmental audits for Thai hotels.  Today, Green Leaf-certified hotels are established throughout Thailand; and Dr. Chirap… Read more


Earth Day: The Uneasy Chair of Hope

April 15, 2009


As The Asia Foundation’s Director for the Environment Program, I work on environment and sustainability issues. Recently as I was traveling to support rainwater harvesting and a safe drinking water law in Rajasthan, an arid western state of India, I thought about the geographic and climate parallels to the places I’ve lived in the American West. Th… Read more


World Water Day: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

March 18, 2009


Thinking about World Water Day this Sunday, March 22nd, and the 2009 World Water Day theme of Transboundary Water, “sharing water, sharing opportunities,” I am reminded of “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost’s 1914 poem in which he asks why two neighbors must rebuild the stone wall dividing their farms each spring. Today, the unwritten rule – that good fe… Read more


Earth Day 2008: Got Stoneflies?

April 16, 2008


Got Stoneflies? How about mayflies? Caddisflies? And midge and black flies? Do you have bugs in your water? I hope so – because after all ” they are indicators of clean running waters and economic sustainability. We need them. The presence of benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs), such as these critters, indicates how clean our creeks, streams, and riv… Read more


Protecting Asia’s Water Wealth

March 19, 2008


Current funding and project trends to improve environmental governance in Asia focus on activism, increased enforcement of environmental regulations, public participation, and intergovernmental efforts to address transboundary environmental issues. Yet, an environmental protection model of activism and enforcement often ignores too many realities o… Read more


Throughout Asia: A Shrinking Water World

September 19, 2007


This week, ahead of two global summits on climate change ” one called for by President Bush, the other by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon — the World Affairs Council of Northern California held a conference on Climate Change and Global Politics in San Francisco. While discussing climate change among experts and political leaders is va… Read more


In Mongolia: Local Environmentalist Receives the “Green Nobel”

April 25, 2007


On Monday, Tsetsge Munkhbayar of Mongolia, founder of a mass citizen’s movement to protect Mongolia’s national waterways, won a 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize–the largest accolade in the world for grassroots environmentalists. Often referred to as the “Green Nobel,” the $125,000 annual award was established in 1990 by San Francisco civic leader… Read more


Throughout Asia: Environmental Degradation, Global Warming, and Security

April 18, 2007


This Earth Day, we’re reminded that hundreds, if not thousands, of life-threatening, significant toxic pollution events occur every year in Asia, not including the millions of everyday pollution releases allowable or not accounted for by law.  And because the physical laws of nature do not respect geopolitical boundaries, the ecological, economic,… Read more