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Sustainability in South Korea (Part I) by Prof. Dan Rohlf

Posted by: | April 9, 2014 Comments Off on Sustainability in South Korea (Part I) by Prof. Dan Rohlf |

From my experience, South Korea is mostly unknown to most Americans. Before living and teaching there for nearly a month in January, 2014, I had mostly heard about the country in connection with its contentious history and relationship with its neighbor to the north. But while almost all information about the Korean Peninsula to penetrate the greater American consciousness is connected with Kim Jong Un’s haircut and his country’s erratic behavior, the last couple of decades have witnessed South Korea’s meteoric rise to world prominence on the basis of substantial political reform, a world-class – and fiercely competitive – education system, and almost unparalleled infrastructure and industrial development. Note that for the remainder of my posts I’ll refer to South Korea as simply Korea, trusting that day-to-day headlines will ensure that no readers forget North Korea or recognize that sustainability is not a huge priority in the north.

Considerations of at least the environmental component of sustainability are now important part of both Korean law and policy, though sometimes critics charge that politicians and government agencies deliberately use explicit references to sustainability to greenwash environmentally questionable projects motivated more by economic and political aims. I’ll give specific examples of this later.

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