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Laudato Si members campaign in Korea

  • Noel Mackey

Banners on plastics campaigning

Banners on plastics campaigning

For over three years we have been meeting on the streets of Seoul every Friday from 11.30 to 12.30am in an attempt to make the citizens of Seoul aware of the climate crisis. We chose that time and place as that is the time workers leave their offices to have their lunches in nearby restaurants. Literally, thousands of office workers and others use the crossroads where we stand during that hour.

These days we concentrate our efforts on three particular issues:

Plastics. We call for a plastic free world or, as one of our banners says, zero plastic. The banner depicts a single use plastic glass that is used all over Korea by a nation that has become obsessed with drinking coffee after meals. Columban Fr Pat Cunningham has a campaign asking supermarkets to stop packaging all their fruit and vegetables in plastic containers that are used just once and then discarded.

Investments. We call for an end to investing in fossil fuels and ask that we invest in renewables instead. The government is insisting on constructing a mammoth fossil-fueled power plant which we want halted. Columbans [Especially Pat Cunningham, Jude Genovia, lay missionary Noh Hye-In Anna together with many Columban supporters] have held monthly protest masses in the city of Samcheok which is near to where the plant is being built. We have organised a special Stations of the Cross in the centre of Seoul, stopping at six Banks calling on them to quit investing in fossil fuels. As we held large banners calling for such action by the banks, members knelt on the footpaths and using coloured chalk to write messages to the banks. Many citizens showed interest in what we were doing. It was suggested to one man that he needed to take his few bob out of one of the offending banks.

Japan's decision to release contaminated water into the ocean. In recent surveys taken here almost 70% of the people said they oppose the release of contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean and vowed not to eat fish taken in Japanese waters. Our banners that are tied to railings declare our opposition to the proposed release of the contaminated water into the ocean. Individuals also hold banners for everyone to see our stance on this issue.

Noel Mackey is a member of the Laudato Si Movement and works with Columbans in Seoul to campaign on environmental issues.

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