Witnesses of Climate Change

Are we?

I’d like to deny it.

I’ve been using the word ‘climate change’ a lot this year but I’ve never thought of myself as a witness to climate change. Maybe it’s because I wanted to avoid the heavy responsibility of the word itself. And it’s scary to be a witness to this enormous event. Come to think of it, I’m also a witness to the 6th mass extinction while living in Anthropocene! I feel like crying.

I’m fine where I live.

I thought or believed.

I live in Hanam and Seoul in Korea. If I have to tell any evidence of climate change here, well, last year’s heat wave at over 40 degrees? In fact, fine dust is the everyday’s real problem to me, but climate change feels like a problem that is happening in Antarctica. I guess I thought we still had a little bit of time to work on it, at least where I live.

No no, we’re not fine.

Already everywhere we live now

I’ve been to the Green Korea Federation’s conference “Witnesses of Climate Change.” 7 witnesses from all over the country attended. And here I’m going to record some important evidences that should never be ignored.

Climate Change and Local Community

Helena Norberg-Hodge, the writer of ‘Ancient Future’ and the founder of ‘Local Future’, opened the conference. It was a touching speech for us living in an era of globalization and neo-liberalism.

<Climate Change and Local Community>

Jeju Seas: Past and Present

Kim Hae Sook is a haenyeo, Jeju woman diver.
She told us the changes she had witnessed in Jeju seas over the past 50 years wearing traditional blouse hand-made by her mother. It was a story of dying sea.

<Jeju Seas: Past and Present>

How long can we eat apples?

What is the most consumed fruit in Korea?
Banana! While we, insensitively, filled our tables with what didn’t come from our land, sensitive apples’ve been already feeling climate change and sending a signals. Who is smarter? Ma Yong Un, an apple farmer, gave his evidence of this question.

<How long can we eat apples?>

Last record of coniferous trees on the Korean Peninsula

Abies Koreana is threatened to choke.
Maybe it sounds like a story that really doesn’t matter to us. Because it seems to have nothing to do with our living right now. But if trees that live in cool climates cannot live in, we cannot either. Unlike the natural extinction, evolution and climate change, these changes are too rapid in Anthroprocene. This is why scientists say we are in a state of ‘climate emergency’ or ‘climate breakdown’ rather than ‘climate change.’ At this speed, this title will be soon ‘The Last Record of Life on the Korean Peninsula.’

<Last record of coniferous trees on the Korean Peninsula>

If a world full of children

For this event, a group of students from Jeju Gotzawal School visited Seoul. They represent the youngest generation from the furthest. Thanks to these people, I felt a younger and more energetic atmosphere than any other environmental event. Helena and all others might be feeling the exact same I did.

In lots of fields, teenage’s movement are a great inspiration to adults. Especially much more in the environmental movement.

We need to be a good adult who doesn’t pass on the wrongs to the next generation. I’ve got a lot on my shoulders.

Warm Heart

I got to know Helena Norberg-Hodge because of her book ‘The Old Future,’ which one of my friend gave to me for my 20th birthday. I was lucky to have a small talk with her before the conference, and I asked for a picture after the event. What did she think in the last 40 years, after having different ways of looking at the world from her trip to Ladakh? I want to be a cool grandmother like her.

A few months ago, my niece was born.

These days, she is doing her best to turn over her body which seem impossible now, she is so cool to me. And I want to be such a cool aunt to my nephew. Hope she will be able to enjoy a good world a little bit, thinking what I can do.

We are all witness of this epoch.

What are you seeing now?

I started studying fashion in 1997.
Since then, I saw the rise and fall of fashion and distribution industries. Of course, shifting from offline to online and mobile. Whether willing or not, I was a witness of the 21st-century fashion.

Now I’m seeing sustainable fashion arise.
Maybe it would be one of the most significant event in the fashion industry. Still wondering if sustainability and fashion can coexist, I want to find an answer to this question for this era. Because I don’t like to be a just only witness.

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