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[ Forum] Celebrities advocate doing what we can to combat climate change

May 22, 2024 - 18:09 By Song Seung-hyun

Actor Kim Suk-hoon speaks during a special panel talk session titled “The Time We Have Left” at the Forum held at Some Sevit, Seoul, on Wednesday. From left: TV personality Julian Quintart, Kim, writer Lee Seul-a and Ko Kum-sook, co-founder of zero-waste shop Almang Market. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

Three celebrities known for their involvement in the environmental movement -- actor Kim Suk-hoon, writer Lee Seul-a and Ko Kum-sook, co-founder of zero-waste shop Almang Market -- discussed the small changes they have made to combat climate change at the Forum held at Some Sevit, Seoul, on Wednesday.

The annual forum, held under the theme, “The Transition: Blue, Clean and Green,” featured the celebrities sharing their experiences during a special panel session titled, “The Time We Have Left.” TV personality Julian Quintart moderated the session.

“I was gifted cotton cloth baby diapers. I care about the environment, so I wanted to try using them,” Kim said.

However, he found the experience with his two kids challenging and soon gave up.

“I think it should not be this difficult,” Kim said.

“For instance, if I don’t bring a tumbler mug, I can use disposable products, but I do not just dispose of them after one use. I bring it back home and use the disposable cup again. I usually use it at least three times,” he explained.

Ko also emphasized the importance of doing what we can for the environment.

“In 2018, when I brought a reusable container for buying squid or fried vegetables at Mangwon Market, the vendors acted like I was doing something wrong,” Ko said. “But now, in 2024, I go to Mangwon Market, and they do not think it is strange. They even give me a coupon that I can exchange for one of those trash bags that one has to buy. This shows that small changes matter.”

The moment that celebrities realized the seriousness of climate change’s influence was also shared during the session.

Lee said it was when her friends told her they did not want to have children due to the issue.

“I am in my early 30s, and my friends are also in their early to mid-30s. Those who are contemplating whether to have children or not often cite climate change as a factor in their decision,” Lee said. “This made me realize the gravity of the issue.”

She also shared her experience teaching a writing class for teens.

"There's a term, 'climate depression,' that they use. When I detect teenagers feeling climate depression, I get the sense that we are truly going through serious times," Lee said.

Climate depression, or climate anxiety, is a term used to describe distress about climate change and its impacts on the Earth as well as on human existence.

Ko agreed with Lee, saying, "I also try not to say 'sorry, Earth.' It makes us feel distanced from the problem. Like Lee said, it even affects our decision to have kids. This is our problem."