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[Opinion] Let’s Start Wood Culture Movement

Posted June. 09, 2002 07:39,   


Only a century ago, the forestry in Korea was so thick as to be the habitat for tigers. When the regent Grand Prince Daewongun, the father of king Gojong in Chosun dynasty reconstructed Gyeongbokgung Palace, the enormous demand of wood was easily met thanks to the thick forestry. Korean ancestors used to make household commodities mainly with wood. However, the Japanese colonial rule and the Korean War led to deforestation across the nation and thus wood was not abundant any more. As Korea went through industrialization and urbanization, concrete replaced wood in building houses and in daily lives. Since then, the ‘concrete culture’ has rooted firmly in our society.

No one denies that the ‘concrete culture’ contributed to Korea’s economic development. However, it is said that concrete is not the best choice for mental health and creativity. When mice in a concrete box and a wooden box were observed, those in a concrete box developed abnormal symptoms such as impatience and nervousness while those in a wooden box were normal. Considering that ‘ppalli-ppalli(hurry, hurry)’ habit of Koreans has particularly stood out since the economic development, it seems that the impatient culture is not irrelevant with the ‘concrete culture’.

In this sense, it is noteworthy that ‘wood culture movement’ is being carried out by scholars of wood engineering, construction and education. In the modern society, social welfare and standards of living are considered more important than economic development and growth. Therefore, the voice for ‘wood culture’ against ‘concrete culture’ is gaining ground.

‘Wood culture’ is environment friendly and is also good for human health. There’s something about wood. Wood is the best material for house construction since it absorbs noise and gives good insulation. In a wooden house, phytoncide from wood gives life to the human body and also promote metabolism and the sense of stability. According to a study in Japan, those living in wooden house have longer life expectancy and lower rate of caner related deaths than those living in concrete house.

Wood is also good toy product material since it gives soft and comfortable feelings and also absorbs ultraviolet rays relieving the burden on eyes. Froebel, a prominent educationist, only used wood to make toys. In Germany, every kindergarten has a wood working room to provide first-hand wood working experience to children. In Japan, concrete classrooms are replaced with wooden classrooms in many schools because wooden floor is good for children’s safety and mental health.

In other words, ‘wood culture movement’ is a new approach to environment movement and aims at creating comfortable atmosphere in education and in daily lives. by using wood. The movement also claims that there will be more vitality in schools if school buildings are built with natural wood and the school floor is covered with beautiful wooden plates instead of artificial concrete.

It would be good if this ‘wood culture’ is put in place in our daily lives as soon as possible to make our house and the society a better place to live in.