After several weeks of stressful preparation, I am off to the Far East again: this time on a 45-day work assignment through 8 cities in China, then onto Bangladesh, Nepal and India. On Friday I received my Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Polio inoculations and picked up a 31-day supply of antimalarial medication for my travel in South Asia and for the first week of my return. I leave on Tuesday, March 19th.
Because of the natural gas boom and the rise of renewable energy in the US, coal companies have been shifting their attention to the burgeoning energy demands of Asia. In China, I will be accompanied by Waterkeeper Alliance’s lead coordinator for our Clean and Safe Energy campaign, Donna Lisenby. She will join me in meetings with several international and domestic organizations in China to discuss strategies to combat dirty coal combustion. In China, we will be talking partly about the team-up of everyone’s favorite global coal peddler, Peabody Energy, and the government of Xinjiang, a province in which the CCP has been extremely unfriendly to ethnic minorities (P. 146: IV Xinjiang), especially Muslim groups. Aside from visiting our 6 partner organizations in China, I will visit two prospective partners in China’s Southwest. In Bangladesh, besides meeting with our Buriganga Riverkeeper, I will be meeting with a group of organizations that are lobbying against the construction of the Rampal coal-fired power plant that would jeopardize the world’s largest mangrove forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site: the Sundarbans. In northeast Bangladesh, I will be visiting two prospective Waterkeper partner organizations. In Nepal, I will be meeting with potential partner organizations that want to advocate for and protect the Bagmati River that flows through Kathmandu. In India, I will be meeting with clean-energy advocates to discuss atrocities such the slaughtering of a nun who was advocating for marginalized communities being displaced and poisoned by coal mining operations in eastern India. I will also be looking for new Indian partner organizations to join in the fight for swimmable, drinkable, fishable waters.
To hear more about what our Waterkeepers are doing in Asia, follow this link to an interview I had with an eco magazine based in Hong Kong.
While working, I’ll spare some time to visit friends, take pictures and videos, write, eat, drink (clean water!), explore and think. I will be attempting to blog throughout the trip, infrastructure and government permitting!
That’s all for now. Ciao!