Senior citizens from South Korea have joined the climate movement through a group called 60+ Climate Action. It held its first event on Wendesday. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI
SEOUL, Jan. 19 (UPI) —On Wednesday, dozens upon dozens of senior citizens marched through Seoul’s snowy streets to support a climate movement that is often the domain of younger activists.
The seniors, who called themselves 60+ Climate Action, staged a rally in front of the city’s Tapgol Park. They marched to a nearby plaza downtown Seoul wearing green face masks and carrying hand-drawn signs that contained personal messages for their grandchildren.
According to the organizers of the group, it was time for South Korea’s older generations, often conservative-leaning and viewed as deeply out of touch with the fast-moving world, to get involved in the most pressing issue of the day.
Yun Jungsook, an environmental activist and codirector at 60+ Climate Action, stated that “the climate crisis isn’t just an issue for young people.” “We believe that 60+ people should change their roles to be more active and diverse.
Yun said that the country’s industrial transformation from a devastated post-war nation into a global economic powerhouse was celebrated by older generations. But, this transformation came with a price: South Korea became Asia’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Yun stated that “economic growth is progress and success” from the very first days of elementary school. “But there was a dark side.”
Seniors are now trying to rectify the legacy they left behind.
Min Yoon Heakyung, 67, said that “our generation got to enjoy industrial development.” “But we produced way too much. We ate too much. We didn’t take enough care of our future generations. Now we have to change the future for the generation that is coming.
South Korean seniors don’t have to be the only gray-haired group. Many other groups, including the Swiss grandmothers, are also growing in number. They sued their governmentThey were not protected from heatwaves resulting from climate change.
Bill McKibben is an American environmental writer and activist who has just started his own group to support senior climate activists. Third Wave.
Wednesday’s activists said that senior citizens have a number benefits for the climate action movement.
Rhee Kyunghee, 74 years old, a retired professor, said, “Some are very well educated, some have connections and some have more resources than the young generation.” “The most important thing of all is that we have plenty of time.”
The 60+ Climate Action group was formed in September. It now has around 100 members and several hundred others who have signed up to support it.
Members have begun projects such as a trip to Jeju’s environmentally sensitive areas to meet with locals, and to attract media attention. Organizers are focusing on letter-writing campaigns to increase pressure on politicians and business leaders to address climate crisis.
South Korea has committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 40% by 2030. However, the country is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels for energy. It generates around 40% of its electricity using coal and only 6.5% from renewable resources.
Climate watchdogs claim that South Korea’s goals do not meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords. These Accords aim to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels to prevent environmental catastrophe.
Yun stated that while the public is aware of the seriousness of climate crisis, the government is not moving fast enough. “This is not an agenda to the future or the young. It is now, and all generations must be involved.