Skip to main content

tv   This Is America With Dennis Wholey  WHUT  August 15, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

6:00 pm
>> greetings from downtown seoul. we've been invited by the ministry of sports and tour itch and the korea tourism -- tourism and the korea tourism industry to express their concerns about the environment. and take a look at some of their attractions and sites. and we'll begin right in the middle of downtown seoul. captioned by the national captioning institute ---www.ncicap.org--- >> the stream has played a central role in the life of the city of seoul for hundreds of years. as far back as 1776, the stream was regarded as an important landmark around which businesses flourished and families lived. it was a place for children to
6:01 pm
play, women to do their laundry and families to gather. however, like the city of seoul itself, the stream area went through many changes over the years. during korean wartime, the stream became home to shan'ty towns, pollution and the homeless. in 1958, streets covered the entire stream and 10 years later, an elevated highway was built to ease the growing traffic congestion. just six years ago, then mayor lee of seoul, now south korean president lee, became the project of restoring the stream to its original state. the elevated highway was torn down and the stream was returned as a source of life and community in the city. today, it's a remarkable and stunning showcase of design, engineering and nature in
6:02 pm
harmony. you can feel the pulse of the city and the people who live and visit here. you can see the joy in their faces and the wonder in their eyes. you can actually listen to the water flowing and feel the lack of stress and the sense of peace in the people, not doing, just being. there's nothing quite like it anywhere i ever visited. this stream is really the heartbeat of seoul. "this is america." "this is america" is brought to you by -- hyundai motor america , maker of the 2009 sonata.
6:03 pm
the national education association the nation's largest advocate for children and public education. the league of arab states, representing 350 million people in 22 member countries. the rotondaro family trust, the c.t.c. foundation and the american life tv network. we were invited by the ministry of culture, sports and tourism and the korea tourism organization to participate in its program on culture and tourism for green growth. it was an honor for us to represent the united states at this forum. 22 journalists from around the world, along with their producers and crews gathered
6:04 pm
together at the headquarters of the korea tourism organization for an afternoon of presentation, dialogue and debate. during the conference, i learned a new term, sand a beach tourism, which is applied to those who want to lay on the blanket, soak up the rays and swim in the ocean. the term ecofriendly tourism is applied to almost a new breed of tourists who love the outdoors and want to observe and experience historic sites, nature and the environment. and this is where korea shines. during our time in korea we were invited to attend a special dinner for the journalists attending the conference. the dinner was hosted by the culture sports and tourism and
6:05 pm
i was offered for the toast. he said that korea hosts about seven million tourists each year and about half of those come from china and japan. europeans and americans who account for about a third of korea's tourists are now beginning to discover the wonders of the country. korea is entirely and easily accessible by car, bus or high-speed train, and there are mountains everywhere you look. they're stunning. as far as culture is concerned, korea is often called a museum without walls. the country's slogan of die a numbera korea and korea sparkling say it all. there are five palaces right in the middle of downtown seoul. we're standing in front of the
6:06 pm
chung duck palace 600 years old. a beautiful marriage of nature and architecture, including the secret garden. actually, korea has been green for years. this palace is smack in the middle of downtown seoul which demonstrates not only the possibility but also the reality of man living in harmony with nature. the chung duck palace was built in 1405 and 500 years later was added to the list of world heritage sites. the location of the palace was selected in order to be one with the valley in which it sits. and the placement for the buildings and gardens are woven into the topography of the land.
6:07 pm
the thrown hall, king's bed chamber and the residences of the princes and second wife of the king are all delicately spun into the landscape, preserving the integrity of the valley in which they lay. it's a dramatic sight to see such a breathtaking historic palace in the heart of any major city. actually, the location of the city of seoul itself was chosen to blend in with nature and surely demonstrates korea's strong dedicationd t preservation of its natural resources and assets. green korea in some ways is not really a new concept but has clearly been a guiding principle of this country's culture and heritage for hundreds of years.
6:08 pm
the president has designated green growth, low carbon as one of his top priorities. in south korea, care of the environment is a major government policy. for example, the island which houses 92 million tons of garbage is now an ecofriendly series of five parks now known as the world cup park complex. we visited sky park. to generate a sustainable ecosystem on a transformed mountain of trash, 30,000 butterflies were released into the park. it's hard to imagine while standing in this beautiful space you are also standing on what was once a mountain of garbage.
6:09 pm
>> it's more than 300,000 square meters and prior to becoming a park this area used to be the garbage dumping site for about 15 years. it -- by 2002 when the city of seoul hosted the world cup, this area had been transformed and reborn as an environmentally and ecofriendly park. since the world cup in 2002, the sky park has become a popular place the citizens of seoul to get rested and exercise. >> what was once nothing but a huge mound of trash just a few years ago is now a green spot of natural beauty from which tourists and residents can look out over the entire city from
6:10 pm
22 lookout points. the philosophy of the government of south korea now is low carbon green growth, and to learn more about its commitment in that regard, i had a chance to talk with the minister of the environment. president lee has a policy of low carbon and green growth. so how is the picture changing here in korea? >> president lee had announced the low carbon and green growth paradigm as the new national paradigm for the next 60 years for this country also, government tried to urge people to leave ecofriendly and green way of life. we call it the lifestyle revolution in our era. also, we try to pursue the energy efficiency in the sector so the environment health and
6:11 pm
the economic can work together. this is a new paradigm for the 21st century. so, the administration had launched the green growth committee under the presidential office, and we also have suggested the green growth-based act at the national assembly to enact some regulations and way we live. starting from 2009, government has also sat a budget for the green growth, which amounts 2% of the total g.d.p. of this country. so i can definitely say that speed of green growth or the pursuing greenness in korea is the fastest in the world. at the core of the green growth lies the energy efficiency, resource uses efficiency and also ecofriendly efficiency. so the industry sector also is changing their direction towards the green high gration. so green technology and green industry is more encouraged.
6:12 pm
we only have been doing this for one year so it's very difficult to tell you the actual numbers of what we have achieved. however, i believe that in two to three years we can find the visible results and success of these efforts, and i believe that it will be great example to the many developing countries. i'd like to add two more things about this question. first, korean government, starting from 1960 to the early 1990's, have had a policy system called the five-year plan. and for the green growth strategy, we have implemented this five-year plan again. so starting from 2010 for the next five years we've started green growth. so not only private sector but also the public sector sat specific goals and together pursue green growth through different kinds of investment and by different kinds of index
6:13 pm
and try to make those goals. and also promote the regular citizens to participate in those efforts. the second point i'd like to add is that the private sector has to move that low carbon and green growth paradigm is very important for the citizens to participate, so they have to change. and a more number of people are recognizing the importance of this. so government has launched green star campaign throughout the entire country. so the many companies, private companies and the civil societies, are participating in this campaign to pursue the low carbon and green growth society. this will be a great example to the many countries around the globe, and this green star campaign kind of movement will provide great real evidence and educational points to move the other countries. >> has everyone here in korea signed on to this idea of
6:14 pm
global warming and climate change? is it real in everybody's mind? do they accept it? >> climate change is definitely around us, and people are noticing the evidences of that. according to a survey that 95% of the korean public understand and realize the importance of tackling the climate change. >> do you think that korea, when you look at other countries in the world and especially in asia, is trying to set the example and be the leader in this green growth revolution? >> green growth paradigm is not only important for korea but it is very important for many other countries around the globe and it's very necessary. private sector and public sector will, of course, have to put their efforts together to deal with this climate change situation. we need survival strategy and
6:15 pm
we have to balance the energy and the resources. if you ask the current situation where we are right now my answer is that i can't analyze it. first, we're fighting against mother nature. we're dealing with the climate change, and if we can deal with this we can do it successfully. and we're fighting against man kinde. as the population increases and many cultures die verse, it's very difficult to coexist. however, instead of disputing and having many difficulties, we have to cope very well with mother nature. we have to solve many catastrophic situations like earthquakes and heavy rains and floods and reduce the biodiversity is some of the problems we are facing at the moment. however, human beings have only
6:16 pm
finite natural resources, so we are standing at a transition period where we have to either fight against this or peacefully coexist together with mother nature. in the 20th century, environment and economic growth was two separate ideas. however, we have to incorporate and integrate those two ideas together. that is a new paradigm for the 21st century. this is not only meaningful for korea but very meaningful for all countries around the globe. many countries are paying attention to this interesting issue, and korea will continuously promote many different programs and also globalize those programs to tackle this situation together. >> another example of south korea's creativity, resourcefulness and eagerness
6:17 pm
to promote green growth is sun yudo park. once an industrial water filtration plant, it's now been converted into a series of parks dedicated to preserving the environment. the industrial plant structure wasn't demolished but instead was used as the foundation for the flowering gardens, scenic walkways and peaceful ponds which make up the area. the developers of the park used the existing waterways, walkways and structures which connected the entire facility to provide water access to all of the new growth in the park today. boardwalks now take ecotourists through beautiful gardens.
6:18 pm
veins and greenery now grow on the pillars of the old plant. an amphitheater is now here. and the former regulator has been transformed into a play area for children. it remembers the past, preserves nature and will be here for future generations to come. our u.s. ambassador to korea, kathleen stevens, has some thoughts on visiting korea. >> without exception, every american or even non-creepan that i know, that has -- non-korean that i know, whatever preconception or lack thereof, once they were here they were hooked, right? >> yes. >> so getting them here is one
6:19 pm
thing. i talk about what i enjoy in korea and what i enjoy in this huge city of seoul is the fact that every day it changes and it becomes a more interesting place. something new is happening. i discover kind of a little small theater scene. i find out that there's another path of a mountain that's been opened. increasing the number of the hiking paths in the city. the city is ringed by mountains, has been opened as the security situation has stabilized to the point where the city will allow people to go places where, again, years ago you couldn't go. so you walk up and you get a vista of 30 minutes of a mountain, of a city of 10 million people ringed by wave after wave of mountain. >> yes. >> you enjoy world-class cuisine, both korean and other countries. you -- again, as we talked about earlier, the cultural scene here, whether it's music, western music or korean music, is unbelievably creative.
6:20 pm
>> i find the city and the country very manageable too. >> that too. >> as far as getting around, moving around. it's not a huge country. >> right. >> you can cover it in -- by train, by bus. >> you can get to the ocean. i had a friend here just a few weeks ago who was a train aficionado. he was here for a few days. never been to korea before. he walked down to the seoul train station which is kind of a place where visiting is its own right and bought a ticket on the k.t.x. train just to ride it just because he wanted to see how it's done. >> right. >> so i think the people who are interested in technology, too the whole kind of experience is, just wandering around and see how koreans are doing things in this crowded city -- >> yeah. >> in this very crowded country, to preserve a natural environment and to have an
6:21 pm
interesting life is really interesting. i think people come away with ideas for our own cities and for our own country. >> south korea has contributed nine sites to the unesco heritage list. the most recent of which is the royal tombs of the dynasty which date back 500 years. the tombs were just added to the unesco list in june, 2009. 53 royal tombs, those of kings, queens, senior relatives and members of the royal household, are located throughout the city of seoul and we visited one of the tombs. >> a special graveyard for the king and their family members. >> the history of this special graveyard goes back to the 15th
6:22 pm
century. in 1457 the first son of the seventh king of this dynasty was first buried here and followed by the second son several years later. the special graveyard has become an eternal home for numerous members of other royal families. the size of this graveyard is about 420 acres and, of course, eight tombs, 13 direct members of the royal family are now buried here. this royal graveyard serves as a public park. many residents and other general public make the frequent visit to the park for hiking and picnicing during the course of the week and weekends. as a special park, this graveyard has been well preserved and maintained.
6:23 pm
as a matter of fact, the unesco, a body of the united nations, designated the graveyard as one of the world cultural heritage in june of 2009. given its historical values as well as other cultural treasures the graveyard has. >> each tomb faces south toward a body of water. in this case the hon river. a hill protects the tomb on the opposite side, the north. a stunning shrine sits in the center of an open valley. behind the shrine is the burial mound adorned with statues carved by the finest craftsmen of the day. each tomb is considered a sacred location and all of the tombs is nestled into the countryside and protected by the forest. the desire to blend the work of its people, the celebration of
6:24 pm
its royalty and the sanctity of the environment is not a new concept for koreans. the tombs represent a rich and historic experience for the new ecotourists. >> hello! we'll try again. we'll try again. >> hello, america. >> now, that's good. go. ready. one, two -- at the camera. there we go. >> three, two, one. >> hello, america! >> one more time. one more time.
6:25 pm
three, two, one. >> hello, america. >> special thanks to the ministry of culture, sports and tourism of south korea, the korean culture and information service, and the korea tourism organization. hotel accommodations provided by the lote hotel in downtown seoul, korea. overseas travel arrangements courtesy of korean air. for online video of all "this is america" programs, visit our website, thisisamerica.net. "this is america" is brought to you by -- hyundai motor america maker of the 2009 sonata.
6:26 pm
the national education association. the nation's largest advocate for children and public education. the league of arab states, representing 350 million people in 22 member countries. the rotondaro family trust. the c.t.c. foundation. and the american life tv network.
6:27 pm
6:28 pm
6:29 pm
left
right