Have you experienced first-hand the impacts of climate change with your own eyes? Scientists, activists, media, and nowadays even younger generations warn of the disastrous consequences of climate change. Yet many people still do not acknowledge the significance of the issue. One of the reasons explaining this passive attitude is the fact that the urban modern lifestyle far from the natural environment often makes it difficult for people to physically experience the actual impacts of climate change.
To inform the public on what climate change is causing to people, the EU-Korea Climate Action team and Green Korea, the leading environmental organization in Korea, jointly held the “Green Conference” in Seoul on 7 November with seven climate witnesses invited from various stakeholders groups across the society: a writer, a female driver, a disaster relief specialist, a farmer, a Danish Embassy representative, a Labour Union spokesperson and NGOs. These witnesses informed 250 audience on the consequences that they saw, resulting from climate change and their actions to stop it. The EU-Korea Climate Action Team invited Jacob Rasmussen , the Energy and Environment Councilor of Denmark Embassy to the event .
The event started at 7pm with a speech from Helena Norberg-Hodge, author of “The Ancient Futures.” She emphasized a small economy and small communities are important in fighting against climate change. A female driver from Jeju warned that fish are disappearing under the sea because of an increase in the water temperature. A disaster relief specialist stressed that it is the marginalized people who usually suffer the most from climate change induced disasters. A farmer growing apple trees spoke about the challenges that he faces due to changed climate, as apple tree flowers bloom too early and sudden frost drops destroy the fruits during the harvest season. He warned that Korea in several decades only few regions will remain for growing apple trees.
Jacob Rasmussen introduced what is happening in the city of Vejla, a medium sized city in Denmark where two river valleys converge. He informed the audience about the city’s climate resilience plan established against frequent flooding induced by climate change. The city built a flooding control infrastructure along the waterway from the Grejs river to the city center, to help delaying the water inflows, managing the water distribution and keeping the water at distance. He also informed about the city’s flood warning system based on media notification, emails, mobile text messages and mobile applications.
The event ended at 9pm after a lively session of sharing feedback and opinions between the audience and the speakers. One of the participants said the shared stories and information made her feel depressed but that was what the event was aimed for. We have to remember that it is the time for us to take more active actions, to prevent climate threats from turning to become the real disasters destroying our life on earth.
Speech materials by Jacob Rasmussen is available here