Korea is a mysterious country. Once one of the poorest countries in the 1960s it has achieved an economic miracle, now chasing Canada as the 11th largest economy. Among some uplifting stories that I heard from my parents, my favourite is the Gold Collection movement that saved the country out of the Asian economic crisis in 1997. My mother donated her wedding ring and golden charms – a common gift for the one-year celebration of the baby’s birth – to the government while my father took a salary cut to help his company to stay competitive in the exports scene. I would not have had the privilege to grow up in Canada without the personal sacrifice that my parents generation made for the country.
Our nature is also on the brink of collapse, but we have not discovered the way to convince people to share such burden. Dumping more scientific facts and jargons have only frustrated people while the doom-and-gloom scenarios have turned people away from the conversation. Now, the climate change is called with various nicknames such as a hoax, cult, religion or conspiracy. Expressing love for the environment is for the hippies. You could easily avoid the unwanted conversation with the magic word called the environment.
What would be the solution to our pressing issues against the climate change? Could optimistic messages work since negative messages have been ineffective? Don’t we turn ourselves to optimistic stories because we are surrounded by negative news all the time? What about financial incentive because money matters to all of us? How about using marketing techniques and social media? Social marketing has been very effective in reducing alcohol consumption and eliminating drug use. What about the community-level grassroots approach? Farmers markets had a decade of explosive growth. To my surprise, all of these approaches have been experimented in the realm of climate change and proven to be rather unsuccessful.
It seems like we are running out of options. Then, what could be our next move? Nobody knows the clear answer for this question, but we could certainly learn something from the Gold Collection Movement. Neither the government nor organization was able to save the country. It was the power of ordinary people who were willing to make the sacrifice and share the burden that helped save the nation from the verge of bankruptcy. Perhaps, we are waiting for the simple nudge to start the environmental miracle.