[Letters] Environment: A great asset for our children

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[Letters] Environment: A great asset for our children

Not long ago, my family and I were gathered in the living room watching the news. My husband started tsk-ing at the television while I was preparing fruits for the family. When I turned my head and glanced at the television, I saw a news program reporting that people have been dying due to enterohemorrhage from consuming E. coli substances found in cucumbers originating in Spain.

I am not a person who follows the news daily, but as a wife and a mother who cares about my family’s health, I gave all of my full undivided attention to the news. I asked my husband after the news segment was over, “Do you know why those kinds of bacteria are spreading?”

Then my husband went on a lecture about how the bacteria were spreading and how I need to read the newspaper more often and keep up with the news. He said that this is punishment being given by our Mother Earth due to our bad treatment of this ground.

After a 10 minute lecture of his “great knowledge” came and passed, I became annoyed by his statements and said, “You should walk to your office instead of taking your car because the environment is very important as you said, and automobile emissions are the main factor of causing global warming.” He said back to me, “Fine! You should take the train to your parents’ house instead of taking my car.” Our argument ended without a resolution.

The morning after the lecture, I picked up a newspaper while I was having my morning coffee and found that all of the headlines of a different newspaper company contained the word E. coli.

The word E. coli did not bring any calm to my heart, but it actually startled my heart because I am a wife and a mother who always prepares their meal with the best produce on earth.

Especially since Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant incident, the anxiety in my heart grew bigger due to this particular global issue. Then I started to agree with my husband’s assertion that this was the result of punishment given by Mother Earth.

My morning coffee tasted more bitter than ever before - maybe it was the bitter thought of me not caring enough about the environment. I was obviously not aware of these matters until the night I watched news and my husband told me how I need to become more aware.

We live in a world where we borrow many assets from the environment, and we use those assets we’ve borrowed to provide our children with a better life. But I forgot that I wasn’t giving anything back to the environment that has made all of this possible. The environment is one of the few great assets that we leave to our children for their future, but currently I feel that we are leaving them with liabilities.

When I was a young child, I saw the slogan “Love your country, love your environment” placed everywhere around the streets. I think that it would be better if we slightly alter that slogan to “Love your kids, love your environment.”

I have recently seen a slogan from a television commercial on the air stating “Riding a train from Seoul to Busan is similar to planting a 11 pine trees.” That was saying that it saves that much pollution and helps the environment that much by taking a train instead of our beloved automobiles.

Solving these particular environmental issues don’t have to start with a big plan, but must rather start with one small step that blends in with our lifestyle. I think I am going to go to my parents’ house in few days. Of course, I am taking the train.

*Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr.

Choi Keun-young, a housewife in Gangwon, and Hong Won-woo.
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