In order to address the need to be environmentally responsible and to know the rising generation’s take on the deteriorating state of the environment,  SIWA invited students from our sponsor’s international schools and Korean schools that SIWA supports in two divisions, Junior and Senior, to submit essays addressing this year’s theme, #EnvironmentalProtection.

Sooah Kim from All Love School (다애다문화학교)  submitted this winning essay in the Senior  Division.  500,000 KRW will be donated to her vetted charity of choice, Aerawon for unwed mothers.


It’s time to reverse the damage.

Our beautiful earth is going to be destroyed because of us humans if we don’t do anything about it NOW! Scientists have already warned us about the destruction of the earth but not enough of us are doing something about it. In this essay, I will be talking about my three important yet simple steps that can hopefully reverse the damage we have done to help the environment. These steps require the government, companies, and people to sacrifice their consumerist lifestyle in exchange for environmental protection. My essay highlights how our lifestyle rooted in mass consumption has been proven to be devastating for the sustainability of our earth.
Firstly, change needs to be initiated on a grassroots level. People can start applying changes into their life by cutting down plastic usage, more specifically single-use plastic products. Other methods like replacing the use of garbage bins with recycling bins, as well as reducing the usage of electricity and water can also be effective. Cutting down plastic usage more specifically single use plastic products, there being recycling bins in homes instead of regular bins and lastly saving electricity and water. As we all know, plastic is harmful for the environment because it takes about ten to one thousand years to decompose and that’s why we should cut down plastic usage. Having recycling bins would mean that we would have to separate food waste, plastics, paper, cans etc. but it all is worth it in the end because it helps reduce pollution caused by waste. Lastly, saving electricity will help us protect the air from pollution. The same goes for saving water. It will reduce the amount of energy used in pumping water which contributes to greenhouse gases and leads to climate change. With effective precautionary measures taken by people, our collective effort will be able to reverse the damage we have made and prevent further environmental destruction.
We were asked if we could give up something to help save the earth what it would be, after some thinking I decided that I would willingly my usage on plastic items. After doing some research, I found out that there are approximately three hundred billion tons of plastic being produced each year, fifty percent are single-use plastic. Though plastic is recyclable, only nine to thirty percent is being recycled. The rest is dumped into the ocean and on landfills releasing toxins, taking over ten years to decompose, killing innocent creatures, causing global warming and polluting the air and water. Therefore I have decided that if I could, I would willingly give up using plastic.

Moving on, the responsibilities of governments, companies/businesses, and people entail making laws to recycle. Governments are to make laws to protect the environment. For many years now, scientists and people all around the world have been telling the governments to do something that’ll help the environment, the responsibilities of us people are to volunteer for cleanups, recycle more, cut down on one-use plastic items, educate others on recycling and to shop wisely and lastly the responsibilities of companies/businesses should be to make environmentally friendly products, use as little chemicals as possible, improve air quality by having indoor plants and to use recyclable items to make new products. These are the responsibilities I think governments, companies/businesses and people have.
We are often unaware about how destructive our consumerist behaviour can be on our environment. The negative effects are the increasing pollution of the earth and exhaustion of natural resources. Society increasingly demanding products puts extreme pressure on natural resources such as wood, water, coal, and other raw materials. These attitudes also encourage factories to use chemicals which are known to damage more of the environment. Therefore, environmentalists often point at factories for being responsible for environmental pollution causing bad consumerism.

I hope that being aware of our responsibilities as citizens of the earth and making sacrificial choices for the sake of our environment will bring a positive impact on the earth and will help us understand our current situation and make an impact on saving our precious earth. Doing something now to help save the environment could protect our earth for all future generations. Even though making small changes may not seem to be generating any result; but the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.