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The Global Search for Education: Activist Cherry Sung Talks Climate Action with Greenpeace’s Justin Jeong

This month on the Planet Cassroom Network, Audiences can watch Net Zero Speaks with Justin Jeong.

What progress has been made towards South Korea’s 2050 carbon neutrality goal?

In Net Zero Speaks with Justin Jeong, Climate activist Cherry Sung interviews Greenpeace’s Climate and Energy Campaigner Justin Jeong. Jeong has been leading a climate suffrage project for Greenpeace in Seoul since 2019 to urge the South Korean government and the National Assembly to come up with climate policies and ensure the South Korean government responds rapidly to the climate crisis. President Moon Jae-in presented a big vision and pledged to spend significantly on the Green New Deal. What are the major challenges faced and what positive outcomes to date is Jeong most hopeful about?  

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Cherry Sung.

Cherry, why did you decide to interview Justin Jeong?  What inspired you about him?

I selected Justin Jeong, a Climate Thought Leader from Greenpeace Korea, because I have built connections serving as a volunteer for multiple Greenpeace Korea campaigns such as the no-plastic picnic and the Green New Deal civilian monitoring.

Because this production would be on the topic of youth activism for net zero, I knew the campaigners at Greenpeace Korea would be knowledgeable about not only the national environmental issues in general and the government’s actions, but also campaigning strategies and the significance of youth voices.

In particular, I saw Justin talk on multiple occasions on the news about energy transition and the effects of climate change in South Korea, namely the sea level rise drowning the Incheon airport. Such instances surprised me so much because my school is located in Incheon city, and numerous people, both national and international, use the Incheon airport for travelling. These led me to choose Justin as the interviewee.

What surprised you most about your interview?  

Something that surprised me greatly from the interview is that South Korea still has the lowest level of renewable energy generation standards among OECD countries. I was slightly aware that the former government pushed forward great efforts to expand solar energy. There were policies such as green new modelling and green smart schools, where buildings are transformed into low-carbon, eco-friendly ones. However, it discourages me to know that the past actions are far inadequate.

Also, he repeated Swiss Lee’s report that, “When the climate crisis goes to an extreme, South Korea’s GDP could fall by 12% by 2048.” Obviously, the climate crisis is an economic crisis in a bigger picture. But imagine the damage in people’s lives once GDP actually falls by 12% in less than 30 years. It is mindblowing.

As horrible as the climate crisis is, the more important it is for youths to voice themselves more. The voices of youths are legitimate and influential.

What are the 3 main takeaways for the Net Zero audience from your interview? 

The 3 key takeaways from my interview are that first youth definitely have the power to influence the people in power like politicians and corporate leaders. In fact, youth have more power in terms of their voices than anybody else. The more young people, the victims, raise their voices, the more the older generation, the perpetrators, will feel responsible, realise their mistakes, and take more action.

Second, the climate crisis is an economic crisis. As previously mentioned, when the climate crisis goes to an extreme, South Korea’s GDP could fall by 12% by 2048. Neglecting the climate crisis will inflict far greater economic losses than responding to it.

Finally to reach net-zero and create a sustainable environment, all groups and individuals must join together. The older, current, and future generations need to be hand in hand. I think in particular, more youth should be given the opportunity to voice their opinions and be part of the decision-making process.

Thank you Cherry!

C.M. Rubin and Cherry Sung

Don’t Miss Net Zero Speaks with Justin Jeong, now screening on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Protect Our Planet and Planet Classroom.

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