Lifestyle changes essential for protecting environment
By Nho Joon-hun
Korean consumers need to drive smaller cars and use less water as general rules for conservation that are essential in protecting our environment.
At a forum on “Earth in Danger: Changes in the Environment,” Park Eung-kyuk, president of the Korea Institute of Public Administration (KIPA), said Korea has suddenly become a country which consumes a huge amount of energy.
“For instance, the amount of energy consumed by the COEX Center (a major convention and exhibition center in southern Seoul) is equivalent to that used in the city of Uijongbu that has a population of 600,000,” he said, emphasizing the country’s excessive consumption of energy.
“As in advanced countries, Korea must move in the direction of using small-sized vehicles and increase taxes on large-sized cars by a significant margin so that the smaller vehicles can be provided with an advantage,” he added.
The forum was held in part to review a 50-part series on the environment, under the heading “Earth in Danger,” currently running in The Korea Times in collaboration with KIPA.
The gathering at KIPA’s main offices in southern Seoul brought together some of the biggest names in environmental studies, starting with Rho Yung-hee, the first dean of the Environment Graduate School of Seoul National University.
“In considering fundamental problems about the environment, we need to take into account the basic economic situation and how civilization has evolved over time,” Rho said.
“The past few centuries have been dominated by Western civilization and there are aspects of this development that we need to look at in terms of its environmental implications,” he added.
Among other senior academics attending the forum were Prof. Kim An-jae, Prof. Choe Sang-chul, Prof. Kim Hyung-kook of Seoul National University and Prof. Park Chang-seok of Kyung Hee University.
As another important issue relevant to the environment, Prof. Choe pointed to education. “It has reached a stage when teachers are avoiding environmental education, probably because students are not susceptible to it.
“But steps have to be taken to train teachers in this subject to ensure that students become more aware of environmental concerns and their implications.”