Seoul + Planet Earth

I love this planet. I LOVE this planet. Which is why I want to spend my life exploring every part of it I can. So when something easy and fun comes along and encourages me to help it out a little, I can't---and won't---say no.

Earth Hour was started last year in Australia, supported by the World Wildlife Fund, as a way to raise awareness for energy conservation. Participants, individuals or even whole cities, turned out lights and any other non-essentials for just one hour tonight. I sat in my dark apartment and watched YouTube videos on my batteried-up computer. I was in the midst of getting ready for a night out, but next year I'll be dressed and outside, maybe looking for stars on my apartment rooftop, enjoying the unusually darkened sky.

Seoul wasn't an "official" participant in tonight's worldwide event, and since I was hanging out in my apartment for the hour, I don't know for sure what the city looked like. I read that N Seoul Tower, the most prominent landmark of the city, turned its lights out. As well, an official press release stated that twenty-two bridges along the Han, Olympic Stadium, World Cup Stadium, and City Hall all went dark to mark the occasion.

Crossing the river at night in Seoul is always an amazing sight. Millions of lights from the tall apartment buildings along the Han reflect in the still, black waters. I love watching the subway trains and cars moving along, carrying busy Seoulites wherever they need to go in this huge city. It would have been incredible to see it all disappear into darkness.

Besides Earth Hour's focus on energy conservation, there's other conservation issues to work on, too. I'm proud of Seoul's citizens for keeping the city's many small mountains scattered in between highrises as natural playgrounds instead of covering them with more apartments. But, a city of over ten million residents can always use a little more oxygen. And now, like every spring, Korea is being attacked by yellow dust arriving from China, so we need some fresh air more than ever. Sikmogil, Arbor Day, in Korea is coming up on 5 April and, incredibly, it used to be a public holiday until 2005.

Certainly, protecting our earth is something Koreans think is important and show it by actively doing something about it.