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[H.eco Forum] 'We are in this together,' solidarity an essential pillar in overcoming climate crisis

Experts urge solidarity and communication to overcome 'climate crisis blues'

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : May 24, 2023 - 15:41

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Ali Tabrizi, director of the Netflix documentary Ali Tabrizi, director of the Netflix documentary "Seaspiracy," speaks at the H.eco Forum hosted by Herald Corp. at the Seoul Shilla Hotel on Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub)

Every problem regarding the environment cannot be solved by the actions of a single individual, but they should be tackled in unison among global citizens, according to environment experts at the H.eco Forum hosted by Herald Corp. on Wednesday.

With some 130 participants ranging from environmental activists and business owners in the industry to students interested in the issue, the second session of the forum underscored the importance of solidarity when taking forward climate crisis matters.

In a panel discussion, moderated by Julian Quintart, a Belgian TV personality in Korea, the issue of "Climate Crisis Blues" was raised. Experts said that emotions relating to the crisis are an important element.

Ali Tabrizi, a documentary film director who elucidated the dark side of the fishing industry in Netflix documentary "Seaspiracy" (2021), said it is important to "allow those feelings to flow."

One of the keynote speakers at the forum, Tabrizi said such blues are the result of repressed anger, which individuals can shift toward positive impacts by reflecting their passions into actions that interest them -- for him, making films.

A feeling of solidarity is a key pillar to drive society to constantly make efforts.

"One should not be an insensitive optimist to believe an ultimate technology would solve the climate crisis, nor be a pessimist and think that it's too late to change anything," said Nam Sung-hyun, a professor from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Seoul National University.

He urged that real change can be made with concerted, collaborative efforts, adding that action taken together with communities and people passionate for the matter is important.

Participants said changing the perception around climate change is crucial.

"A concept or a thought that seemed ridiculous in the past can change over time with different discourse around the topic," said Won-suk Chin, a film director who participated in the forum.

"I started living as a vegan 12 years ago, when many people didn't know the term in Korea and no restaurants served vegan foods. I was lonely and it was challenging to pursue what I believed in. But 12 years after, I see increasing number of vegan restaurants and many people joining. This is the change I experienced, and it will be the same for climate change issues if we don't give up."

"An opportunity to share values with similar people, like this forum, is also very important," he added.

Nine-year-old Ain Jeong, the youngest participant of the forum, asks a question to Ali Tabrizi, director of the Netflix documentary Nine-year-old Ain Jeong, the youngest participant of the forum, asks a question to Ali Tabrizi, director of the Netflix documentary "Seaspiracy," at the H.eco Forum hosted by Herald Corp. at Seoul Shilla Hotel on Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub)

The forum also had young participants, one of whom asked a panel member for documentaries aimed at children.

"I cannot watch your documentary because I am only 9 years old. I am really interested in the environment and so are many of my friends. Can you make a documentary on environmental issues that me and my friends can watch?" she asked Tabrizi.

Tabrizi said it is important that children know the truth. He added that his team is working on a website for the documentary to provide questionnaires and interactions for children, emphasizing the importance of children in tackling future crises.