Thursday, December 5, 2019

The GoldenTime To Save the Earth

A member of the bishops' committee on the environment in the Peace column of the Catholic Peace Weekly gives us her thoughts on the recent International Forum on Air Pollution and Climate change in Seoul, Korea. She wants to make known the cry of the  Korean youth expressed during the forum in her article.

A promise without practice is an empty cry. At this moment, we are at a Golden Time. What is the fate of a seriously injured patient? Treatment right away is the short but precious time necessary to survive.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in 2018 that "to prevent climate change, we need to make unprecedented massive changes in 12 years," but there are no huge, significant changes. The next decade will be the last chance to reverse the climate change we have made. We have talked this over and over many times. If we live like this, one day, the earth will be harmed irreversibly and is approaching daily.

Korea has suffered from fine dust for decades, and more and more people buy air cleaners, believing that machines will make their homes safer. But the nature of the fine dust problem lies in cars, factories, and power plants that can't be stopped by a few small machines.

The more we buy and throw away, the more factories will need electricity, and power plants need to burn fossil fuels. As a result, the air gets worse and people live with their faces covered with masks. These one-time disposable masks will remain in landfilled areas for 500 years. Although the size of the family is getting smaller, the refrigerator is getting bigger; we are so used to thinking the bigger the better.

Our youth would like to thank you for what you have done for them. Your efforts have given them a world full of food, clothes, shelters, welfare, education, and less war and hunger. But now they want to face reality. "Faster! Higher! Stronger!" These once magic words no longer give joy to the young.

We need to change our lifestyle by reducing excessive consumption. One might say that such practices hinder economic development. But beyond the narrow framework of mass production and mass consumption, there are endless possibilities. Already, people in the world have seen the future of sustainable industries through the growth of shared cars, second-hand markets, and natural agriculture.

The earth is ours. There is no time to blame or ask whose responsible because we are all responsible for climate change and environmental degradation. The fate of our planet and our human race depends on our actions for the next 10 years of Golden Time. Our 10 years is the hope of the earth. Let's make a change together.

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