Recently, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education announced the long term development plan for ecological transition education. As far as I recall, this is the first time the office of education declares ‘ecological’ changes in its long-term plan. The concept of ‘ecological transition’ has been treated as a secondary and has not been considered as an urgent or serious agenda. This is a great improvement in the policy of education in the metropolitan Seoul. They also announced that the vegetarian meal option will be introduced and provided in selected schools which have high agreement among students, parents and staffs. In the future, it is expected to have an vegetarian meal option in regular schools which now have meat based meal options.
According to the news, “Last year, environmental groups ‘Youth Climate Action’ activists and students asked the City Department of Education to ensure their choice of environmental classes and vegetarian choices in meals. In addition, various environmental groups have voiced, which is understood to have been accepted by the city office of education.”
The sense of urgency in environmental crisis does not grow automatically. Endless efforts is required to access the knowledge which makes clear understanding of what is going on. Many people failed to get to the core of the knowledge which can ring a bell in our consciousness. The grown-ups who have baptized with a myth of limitless development are hard to be changed. Therefore the education is the key to pivot the destructive direction that all human kind are heading for. The education office of Seoul is now adapting the new tools that EcoCiv Korea suggested. This will change many aspects of students’ lives including their intentional consciousness in ecological sensitivity which is the key to a better future.
The city office of education also announced plans to build a ‘zero carbon emission school’. This plan urges the schools to invest their resources in changing the system to energy efficient. This will change the mindset and priority of many schools. The plan also indicates that building solar power plants in schools is part of the agenda which shows more sustainable ways of life.
In addition, supporting an experimental classroom (living lab) where students can grow their own gardens, supporting club activities such as youth ecological transformation support group are also in the long-term plan.
Hee-yeon Cho, Superintendent of Seoul, is a key person who initiates this changes in schools. He believes that education is a very important element for a sustainable life on earth. EcoCiv Korea has been closely walking with the education office and superintendent Cho to introduce ecological solutions for the future and to support the changes in Seoul. Two researching scholars at EcoCiv Korea, Dr. Keunhwa Jung and Dr. Yunjeong Han are in the center of this change. EcoCiv Korea keeps working for an ecological transition in Seoul, Korea and beyond.
Director of Ecociv Korea The Rev. Dongwoo Lee
You can find more information in www.ecociv.org
(Photo = Yonhap News)