People We Love: Mari Rose Taruc

Environmental justice for all.
Mari Rose Taruc

When Mari Rose Taruc’s parents immigrated to the United States, they went to work in grape fields doused with pesticides. These days, climate change brings stronger typhoons to their relatives back in the Philippines. “When they talk about environmental justice, they are talking about me,” Taruc says.

Taruc works on behalf of low-income communities of color—the ones often affected “first and worst” by environmental injustice—as director of Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) in California.

Since 2003, APEN has helped halt the expansion of a Chevron oil facility, defended the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law, established multilingual emergency warnings, and pushed for public transit and walkability in neighborhood development.  

Taruc took APEN’s message to an international audience when she protested inside the Cancún climate talks in December.


  • An international movement—of governments, scientists, and activists—is bringing a focus on environmental rights to the climate negotiations in Cancún.

  • Hours before the oil giant released its new ad campaign, the Yes Men released their own version.
  • Declaration from the People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit.