Clean Power Alliance is proud to celebrate the contributions and leadership of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in energy, clean technology, and as environmentalists during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Miya Yoshitani – Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Miya Yoshitani has been the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) since 2013. Starting at APEN as a youth organizer in the 1990’s, Miya has an extensive background in community organizing, and a long history of working in the environmental justice movement. APEN has been fighting – and winning – environmental justice struggles for the past 25 years and remains one of the most unique organizations in the nation explicitly developing the leadership and power of low-income Asian American immigrant and refugee communities.
Through many years of leadership, Miya has supported APEN’s growth and expansion from a powerful local organization, to having a statewide impact through an integrated voter engagement strategy and winning transformational state policy for equitable climate solutions for all Californians.
A movement leader in many key local, state, and national alliances, APEN is helping to shift the center of gravity of what is possible when the health and economic well-being of working families, immigrant and communities of color are put at the center of solutions to the economic and climate crises.
Charlie Jiang – Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace USA
Charlie Jiang grew up first-generation American and aims to build a richer, stronger movement for climate action that strives for racial and economic justice for all. He is a climate campaigner at Greenpeace USA, where he recently pressured 2020 Presidential candidates to commit to saying yes to the Green New Deal and no to fossil fuels as a Day 1 priority.
Jiang is an expert on equity through energy efficiency and was a leading SustainUS youth delegate to the 2017 United Nations climate negotiations. He is fighting for a Green New Deal that brings justice for communities and workers most impacted by the climate crisis and fossil fuel extraction. He has a background in clean energy engineering and organizing with youth climate movements.
Jiang offers a vision of active hope, arguing that out of the compounding crises we face, we have a singular opportunity to mend the wounds of our past and usher in a brighter future.
Miranda Wang – Co-founder and CEO of BioCellection (now Novoloop)
Miranda Wang is a climate tech entrepreneur here in California, who is building an innovative plastic transformation company. She is the Co-founder and CEO of BioCellection (now Novoloop), a low-carbon advanced recycling and sustainable materials provider that upgrades the most common plastic waste into performance materials worth up to 50 times more.
“Plastics are just natural compounds and natural carbons tied together in an unnatural way, and once you disrupt that, you can use those natural building blocks to make anything,” says Wang. “We can make a product from plastic garbage that’s not only useful in new products but is biodegradable and can break down.” The company’s pilot program with a California waste-management facility received accolades from groups like the U.N. Environment Programme and now Wang is setting her sights on other locations around the world. Miranda is a Forbes 30 Under 30, United Nations Young Champion of the Earth, and a Pritzker Environmental “Genius” Awardee.
Hilda Heine – Former President, Marshall Islands
In the low-lying Marshall Islands, even a former president must deal with seawater washing into the garden of her modest home as ocean levels creep higher on our warming planet. Climate change is literally at Marshall Islands former president Hilda Heine’s doorstep. “Around my house, I have had to build a seawall, because there is water coming over from the shoreline,” she said. The sea is encroaching quickly on Heine’s low-lying Pacific Island state, and over the past four years, the government has had to put in place many adaptive measures like building coast-protection systems and seawalls. People are regularly evacuated from their homes as rising seas claim more of the islands’ often cramped and flimsy houses, threatening to make them uninhabitable in coming decades.
As president, Heine took to the international stage to share the story of her country and the many difficult decisions her compatriots are facing, including the possibility of relocating. She chairs the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of some 50 countries particularly in peril from climate change, despite having contributed a pittance to atmospheric greenhouse gases. Heine is adamant that everyone needs to take immediate action. While president, she committed the Marshall Islands to going carbon-neutral by 2050, and the nation was the first to submit its emissions pledge under the Paris Agreement. The Pacific Island’s first female leader, former president Heine has been recognized by Time magazine as one of 15 women leading the fight against climate change.
Wu Changhua – CEO, Future Innovation Center
Wu Changhua is a recognized global leader fighting climate change. Back in 1990, when she started documenting environmental issues as a young photojournalist in Beijing, she thought it was “all about planting trees and keeping the streets clean.” Few policymakers in China knew any different, prioritizing unbridled growth at any cost.
As she moved into business and advocacy, she learned fast, and her patient cajoling helped shepherd the rehabilitation of the world’s No. 2 economy from an environmental pariah to a champion of green issues on the global stage. It involved tact. While international institutions publicly scolded China for its belching factories and toxic waterways, Wu worked with various officials behind the scenes to help infuse global standards into industry and urban planning.
“For a long-time we were ignored and marginalized, but now we’re pretty much mainstream,” says Wu.
Now CEO of the Future Innovation Center, Wu continues to advise governments and corporations on sustainability strategy and the low-carbon economy. She sits on many boards and advisory boards of regional and global platforms to drive innovation and accelerate solutions to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. She is also a member of Global Future Council of Electricity, World Economic Forum 2020-2021.
Yong Jung Cho – Climate Action and Political Campaign Organizer and Activist
Yong Jung Cho is an organizer and activist with experience working on a variety of climate action and political campaigns to pressure politicians to take a stand for climate justice. Cho is a co-founder of #AllofUs, a movement which fights for an America that truly stands with all its people. The organization pressures politicians to fight for the things working people need to thrive and support a new generation of leaders.
During the 2016 presidential primary season, Yong Jung was the campaign coordinator for 350.org. She trained hundreds of persistent volunteers to confront Republican candidates on their climate denial and fossil fuel agenda. They also got Hillary Clinton on record to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and oppose fossil fuel extraction on public lands.
Fusion.net featured Cho as one of the 30 women who literally changed the 2016 election. At 350.org, she also coordinated student leadership development programs and organized the 50,000 person youth and student contingent for 2014 People’s Climate March.