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Tropical night and energy saving campaign

Posted June. 17, 2013 05:32,   


As a child, I learned one should be guilty about leaving food. Even if I was full, I tried to empty dishes thinking of hungry children North Korea or Africa, or farmers’ sweat. But now, I changed my thought. Leaving one or two spoonful of rice does not make more kids die of hunger. Farmers would rather expect me to leave more rice and consume more. I know food waste is a serious problem, but overeating, obesity, and subsequent lifestyle diseases are serious as well.

For such reason, I decided to drop the obsession that I have to eat up all food at a restaurant. I also changed my attitude on “using only made-in-Korea goods.” Korea, the world’s eighth largest trading country, posted a surplus in 172 countries among 242 countries that it has a trade relationship as of last year. It is not the time to point fingers at those who own an imported car and use imported stationary, but to worry about other countries blaming us for trade imbalances.

Understandably, the campaigns on saving food and using made-in-Korea goods were part of national efforts to address food shortages in the past and protect domestic industries. Such campaigns contributed Korea to economically grow this much. On the other hand, these campaigns make people feel tired because there were too many campaigns and the slogans in those campaigns excessively stimulated individuals’ moral duties and guilt. So is the recent energy campaign.

Prime Minister Chung Hong-won handed out fans to ministers, deputy ministers, and the leadership of the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday. The slogan of this year’s national energy saving campaign is “Cut back 100 watts! Good wind, this summer!” and it encourages various energy saving efforts using fans. It is understandable that the energy crisis is serious, but it makes one feel resistant because the campaign seems to ban even the use of an electric fan, which uses only 1/30th of energy of an air conditioner. The energy that we use cannot be stored. Saving energy at night does not make the energy situation during the day better. If it is night time when there is reserve power and a family member cannot stand tropical night, the family does not need to feel so guilty about turning on an air conditioner for a while. One can check the reserve power information real-time on the Internet (www.powersave.or.kr).

Industrial News Reporter Jang Kang-myeong (tesomiom@donga.com)