Lights Out in Seoul

Last night, between 8.30 and 9.30pm, people around the world turned out their lights for Earth Hour. For the first time, Seoul was an official participant this year. Today I read that lights were turned off at several landmarks, like COEX shopping centre, 63 Building, Seoul Station, the bridges across the Han River, and government buildings across the city.

Seoul's skyline during Earth Hour 2009

Seoul's skyline during Earth Hour 2009

I was at a friend's house near Itaewan and went up to the roof to checkout the N Seoul Tower. A few of its lights were out, but it looked like the restaurant and observatory were still lit up. The apartments all around me were as bright as they would be any other day of the year.

I tried telling some of my Korean co-workers about the event, but the response was underwhelming. No one had heard of Earth Hour before. I didn't read anything about it in the news, either. The message just wasn't getting out. My friend, when I told her about Earth Hour, said it was a good idea but "at that time it's in the middle of the dramas on TV." It's a little disappointing for a city of over 10 million. With all those voices working together, Seoul can really send a message to the world that Koreans think climate change is an important issue.

So, a little frustrated, I went back inside the darkened apartment and played cards by candlelight with my friends. I can only hope that next year the word will have spread and more people will participate. Maybe next year...

Earth Hour Seoul, 2009
What is Earth Hour?