[LETTERS to the editor]Focus on saving the environment

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[LETTERS to the editor]Focus on saving the environment

In the contemporary world, the environment is the issue that needs to be addressed most urgently. The problem, however, is not the lack of scientific knowledge. It is rather the failure to coordinate international efforts, because this problem is not simply a domestic matter.

Environmental scientists would remind us of the global characteristic of environmental problems. As encapsulated in the Butterfly Effect, a seemingly insignificant action in one part of the world might result in a disaster in another. The yellow dust phenomenon, for example, is not limited to the skies of Mongolia and China alone, but annually is creating problems in East Asian countries that have done nothing to cause it. Yet people can’t agree on a solution, and nothing is done. I believe there are many people like me who want to help, but the problem is that we don’t know how to help each other.

Global society is failing to cope adequately with the problem - despite, for instance, the Rio Conference, the Kyoto Protocol or the G-8 summit. They all failed at the level of actual application [of practical measures], ending in mere talks. They have not succeeded because there isn’t a strong entity to tackle the problem; in other words, they were all forums or short-lived collaboration. The first step then is to create an international body that specializes in the problem alone; without it, nothing can be done.

Compromising between economic development and environmental preservation has always been hard. Time, however, is against us, and the issue has become more pressing. The solution is already laid out, and in the long term the benefits go to everyone.

Hong Seung hwee, student, Anyang Foreign Language High School

*e-mail to eopinion@joongang.co.kr or via fax to 82-2-751-9219
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