Korea: Ecological Centre

At the end of 2007, a tanker disaster before the coast of South Korea produced the worst oil spill catastrophe in the history of the country. In the aftermath, the population woke up to the immense importance of environmental protection and this led the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea to establish an Ecological Centre.

Ecological management has become an important factor for South Koreans. The results of building and land use in densely populated regions are taking their toll. The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) is also part of the ecological movement and regards environmental protection as a Christian mission to preserve the creation. They motivate their members to engage in active work for the environment and to regard their commitment as an ethical obligation towards God and society. The Ecological Centre networks activities of the strong environmentalist movement throughout the country. It is mainly women who show commitment to this cause.

Sustainable consumption and production

Firstly, the centre offers study tours. The congregations organise outings to sensitive wetlands and learn about the impact that humans have on the ecology. These tours sensitise the participants to the harmful effects of major works such as a river straightening project.

Secondly, the agenda includes topics such as sustainable consumption and renewable energies. A food cooperative was set up to market produce directly between rural producers and urban consumers. In addition there is a vegetable growing competition and members of the congregation prepare and eat fruit and vegetables grown at the Ecological Centre which offers seminars and study groups to support this cause.

On the topic of renewable energies, a solar cooperative was formed to promote the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. As a first step the cooperative installed a 50 MW solar system on the roof of the Theological Seminary of Hashin University.

German ecologist actively engaged on site

Since the subject of environmental protection has such an enormous social and political importance in Germany, the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea is interested in collaboration with German experts. Since 2012, Karina Schumacher has been working in Korea as an ecumenical co-worker, assisting at the church's ecological centre there. Since the beginning of 2015, she has been working on preserving a natural river ecosystem which is endangered by the construction of several dams which are part of the Four Rivers Project, a government project to generate electricity and prevent flooding. The German woman uses her environmental protection expertise in her daily work, gives interviews and talks and collaborates with voluntary co-workers.

Help to promote environmental protection in South Korea and support the work of the ecological centre.


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