The international non-profit advocacy group Greenpeace (綠色和平) is spearheading several major environmental campaigns across Taiwan, working to issue in major systematic shifts that will reduce Taiwan’s carbon emissions and ecological pollution.

Chih-An Lee, the project manager of Greenpeace’s energy team, says that human activity has already devastated Taiwan’s ecosystems. “We’ve see many ecological system collapse due to human activity, and it’s all linked back to climate change, which is mainly attributed to abuse of fossil fuels,” she said. “And what we see in Taiwan is all of the symptoms of this systematic environmental collapse coming all together.”

Lee thinks that Taiwan is especially vulnerable to the effects of rising global temperatures.“We’re an island, we’re in the subtropical climate, so when climate change causes the rise of sea surface level, Taiwan will be a victim area,” she said. “And then we have an extreme climate—this summer season the temperature is historically high. It’s breaking records day to day.”

Greenpeace is also working to solve another one of Taiwan’s major environmental problems: plastic. “We consume too much products, all of which more or less contain plastic,” Lee said. “So we have to think about how we reduce the consumption and increase the recycling and recovering rate, to reduce the exploitation of the planet.”

Excess plastic waste is especially damaging to Taiwan’s marine ecosystems, with some environmental groups estimating that 1.8 million tons of garbage is currently littering the country’s coastlines.

Lee explained what she calls Greenpeace’s “plastic project,” a two-pronged effort to limit Taiwan’s dependence on single-use plastic. “On one hand, we demand the government to provide incentive, for the sake of slowing down the rate of production,” she said. “And then, on the consumer side we encourage people to change their behavior, to not consume so much single use waste.”

In response to pressure from environmental advocacy groups, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new “Sea Waste Management Platform” this past February. The 12-year plan will phase out four types of single use plastic—takeaway beverage cups, drinking straws, plastic bags and disposable tupperware—banning them completely by 2030.

In addition to reducing physical pollution, Greenpeace is also assisting with the country’s major energy transformation, which has been underway since 2016. Taiwan has one of the most ambitious greenhouse emission goals in the world, aiming to reduce emission levels to 50% of what they were in 2005 within the next thirty years.

“Because of the Paris Accord, Taiwan realized that it’s necessary for us to take part in the reduction of greenhouse gas emission as a member of the international society,” Lee said. “And it’s important for us to show that it’s doable in East Asia.”

Lee thinks that renewable energy sources have the potential to revolutionize the country’s energy systems. “We are an island and this is a closed grid, but for the past two or three decades we’ve become very dependent on imported energy sources, like coal, uranium and natural gas,” she said. “But now we’ve realized that it’s possible for Taiwan to develop renewable energy sources like solar or wind—especially solar.”

Broadly speaking, the energy transition’s goal is to completely phase out nuclear power, to achieve what the EPA calls a “nuclear-free homeland” by 2025. Energy transition efforts will simultaneously promote renewable energy sources and undo Taiwan Power Company’s monopoly, shifting the entire energy market towards green energy.

Still, the transition to renewable energy will require a major effort across government agencies, advocacy groups and private industries. “To transition to renewable energy, you have to change the logic of managing different sources of electricity, you have to invest in new electricity storage technologies, you have to improve the capacity of climate data management and user behavior projections,” Lee explained.

Lee is optimistic about the energy transition ability to reduce both the country’s carbon emissions and the air pollution caused by the burning of coal and fossil fuels—she also believes Taiwan has the potential to become a leader in environmental conservation.

“Greenpeace’s role is to work with the society to provide more information and more practical options that we have, and convince the government to make systematic changes,” she said. “I think Taiwan has the potential to become an example in Asian communities.”