Blog

In South Korea

By: Parrys Raines, Category: Science, Date: 16 Aug 2009

Seoul city and the week ahead for the International Children’s Conference on the Environment.

I arrived in Seoul a few days ago. Seoul has a population of over 10 million people and the first thing I noticed was how clean everything is. There is no rubbish in the streets and everywhere you look there are environment signs. There are recycling bins in shopping areas and in restaurants. Apart from the traffic problems this big city runs like clockwork.

The weather has been very hot and humid. It makes walking around the city uncomfortable. The city comes alive at night with local markets. It is much cooler at night to walk around and mingle with the locals.

The people are so nice and friendly but communicating has been a challenge. I have been shopping for traditional Korean crafts and learning about the culture. The food is different to Asian foods I have had before. It is spicier with a focus on seafood.

I left Seoul on Saturday morning to head south to the city of Daejeon where the conference is being held. I travelled by fast train and it only took 55 minutes. The train sped through the country side at a top speed of 300 km’s per hour.

At Daejeon train station it was difficult to find a taxi driver that could understand enough English to take me to the Chung Nam National University where I am staying. It is a huge university and our rooms are nice. We will be travelling from here to the Daejeon Convention Centre by bus each day.

There were a few kids already here and I caught up with my Canadian friend Annie who I met in Norway last year. We are sharing a room for the week. More kids are arriving each day and there will be over 800 kids from 110 countries. It is great to see so many kids from different countries and learning about their work.

On Monday I will be attending a workshop called “More Sustainable Life with Electronics and Telecommunications Technology”. I am looking forward to learning how we can use technology for a more sustainable life.

I run my workshop on Tuesday and I am looking forward to that. On Wednesday morning I will give my speech at an assembly. After I talk there will be a talk by David de Rothschild. He is a famous environmental adventurer and I am looking forward to meeting him.

On Wednesday I will be attending a workshop called “How to be an Environmental Journalist”. I am hoping to improve my writing skills and learn more skills so I can better communicate my environmental messages to kids.

On Thursday there will be a debate called “Seal the Deal global Debate”. The question for the debate is “Can youth show real leadership”. My answer is of course “yes”. My generation will be the first generation to really see the impacts of climate change and although we are young we can establish intergenerational communication with current leaders to let them know we would like action and we would like to share our ideas. The Executive Director of UNEP, Mr Achim Steiner will be part of the debate.

During the week there will be speeches given by Environment Ministers from Korea, the Maldives and Cameroon. The prime minister of Korea will also be speaking. He has a lot of experience and knowledge of climate change so I am interested to hear him talk. South Korea is forging ahead with their environmental initiatives and they may have some initiatives we in Australia could use.

I am now off on a tour of Daejeon on a Hydrogen Cell bus and looking forward to meeting some new friends!

Remember 'Habits made today will help life tomorrow'.