Gary Cook

Gary, Director of Earth Island Institute’s Russian programs, has worked to nurture the growth of the Russian environmental movement as a whole, offering particular support to the many activists that are fighting to protect Lake Baikal.  Over the last 20 years, Earth Island and Gary have helped with the establishment and support of several dozen environmental groups located throughout Russia. In addition, Gary has served as advisor and partner for many other organizations working in Siberia, including the World Bank, the Global Environmental Facility, the United States government, numerous western NGOs (including the Tahoe-Baikal Institute, Earth Corps, Pacific Environment, etc.) as well as each of the eight national parks and nature reserves located within the greater Baikal region. Earth Island’s partners in the former Soviet bloc have used this help to lead a number of campaigns that protect the Siberian wilds, while promoting non-industrial development throughout the region.  Earth Island has already conducted some 40 international eco-tours to Russia.  In so doing it has brought profits to the nation’s struggling national parks, as well as to local environmental groups.   Earth Island has also been in the forefront of confronting oil and gas developments in northern Asia, as well as the many uranium and gold mining projects that are spreading to all parts of eastern Russia.  Finally, given the fact that over 40% of the Baikal watershed is located upstream in Mongolia, Gary and Earth Island have promoted greater trans-boundary cooperation between Russians and their Mongolian neighbors to the south. Gary serves on the board of the Mongol Ecology Center.