SAVE THE EARTH, SAVE THE HUMAN
A decent picnic without disposable plastic! On Saturday, July 6, 2019, citizens with the common idea that they should keep the planet healthier assembled at the Seoul Forest Sculpture Park in Seongdong-gu, Seoul, located between a forest of buildings and the Han River. Each had prepared a luncheon without using any single-use plastic.
For me, participating in the Plastic Zero Picnic with Greenpeace as an activist was the first link into getting to know about Greenpeace as well as my first experience with national campaigns. I gained my interest through school volunteer activities, where I was exposed to the seriousness of disposable plastic, which has become a global issue. However, my vision stayed in a static environmental movement for myself and my colleagues. However, this "Greenpeace" volunteer activity made me realize the amazing and pleasant fact that there are a lot of people who share the same thoughts with me. Two weeks before the event, we had an orientation where volunteers were introduced to “Greenpeace” and were given an open circle to share ideas. During the second preliminary meeting, other activists and I drew and fabricated event supplies. At the following meeting, the activists explored the event area at the Seoul Forest Promotion Hall and looked forward to the results of the awaiting successful activities.
The attendance rate of pre-registered "Plastic Zero Picnic with Greenpeace" attendees verged on the mere 40% because a warning from the Ministry of Public Administration and Security to refrain from outdoor activities was sent due to the heat of the day exceeding 36 degrees. I was half worried and half excited to see if I would be able to respond to numerous event participants without making mistakes and to be able to communicate the Greenpeace’s "Plastic-Zero" campaign to them. At the end of the day, I felt that it was too bad that not as many people as we anticipated have come, but the whole process of preparing and running the event left me very glad and proud.
The families who participated in the picnic were confident that they had prepared their lunch boxes to meet the purpose of 'disposable plastic zero’ picnic. Participants used bamboo or stainless steel lunch boxes instead of disposable plastic containers, prepared multiple-use forks and spoons, and carried picnic baskets, eco-bags, handkerchiefs, or wrapping cloths to replace plastic bags. There were also participants who purchased ingredients and products with the least possible or no plastic packaging at all. This made it very difficult to select only one of the nicely prepared candidates of the 'Plastic Zero Picnic' lunch contest. I was certainly able to find a bold willingness to avoid materials with a lot of plastic waste. It seemed that we had to give the plastic zero practical environment prize to all the families attending.
The OX quizzes, one of the booth activities, proved that the participants’ knowledge of the environment was fairly high enough to know that common landfilled plastics take 1,000 years instead of 500 years and that over 86% of the plastics entering the ocean comes from Asian rivers. The participants’ short talks on the stage made it evident that they were trying to make a small or big effort for a sustainable planet in their own positions. All of them have acknowledged that human being could live only by keeping the planet healthy. At the real event started at 4 PM, an online community (Dreamers Of A World Without Waste)’s operator Lee Jin Ahn, SSSSL magazine’s editor in chief Bae Min Ji, and plastic zero waste shop (THE PICKER)’s operator representative Song Kyung Ho have gathered. The lecture gave us the opportunity to share the information and mark the necessity of practicing plastic zero once again for the participants as well as Greenpeace activists who were already 'preliminary environmental activists,' challenging plastic zero life. I was imbued with sparkle by the fact that many other people had the same idea as me, thus immediately became a member of the "Dreamers Of A World Without Waste" chatting room (more details in the previous article).
However, it would be difficult to solve the present serious plastic environmental problem simply by the changing of consciousness of citizens. A legal system that will fundamentally reduce consumption will be necessary. When the government develops a strong will to help the environment by imposing consumption taxes on environmental costs, for example, the use of disposable plastics will decrease while the recycling rate will increase. In order to do that, I pledged to take action and voice my thoughts toward the environment first. Can only an individual like me change the world? The answer is yes. I will not be able to change everything overnight, but if my neighbors and I will join together and influence others, I have full potential. Eventually, businesses will get a sense of responsibility, and the government will be persuaded to enforce the laws. Here we can find here the reason why we should support and assist the activities of Greenpeace, a non-profit organization that acts as a center point for individuals to lead the environmental movement and to remove plastic pollutants.
Through Greenpeace activities, I gained a lot of things: environmental knowledge, the power of the campaign, the impact of public cooperation… and of course, we cannot omit the bond with the volunteers who have prepared the plastic zero picnic with Greenpeace in that list. I was dumbfounded that one whom I have never known could become an acquaintance to share ideas with me in such a short time, and I developed a belief that the entire humanity of the world can come together under the common goal of ‘protecting the environment.’
Greenpeace Plastic-Zero Picnic event review written by Cherry Sung will be uploaded in Greenpeace Korea and several newspapers on the 25th.