Blog Post #5

Climate change and human rights are directly linked, for countries with more human rights tend to have higher rates of income which leads to either A) a society which can support an eco-friendly habitat like many European nations, or B) they are the larger cause of many environmental issues like the United States and claim to have an interest in preserving the status quo to keep making money.

In South Korea, women informally have fewer rights than men, and it deals with many climate change issues as well. South Korea is a country which has experienced significant economic growth in a relatively short amount of time, which has led to a boom in manufacturing and other industrial aspects which, in turn, has created a host of climate change-related issues in South Korea. However, the government’s response to air pollution is just to tell people to avoid going outside instead of solving the root of the problems, showing how little respect there is for the citizens in South Korea. Clean air is not seen as a human right.

The people in South Korea feel powerless to step in and help where both climate change and human rights are concerned. They do not trust their government, and therefore do not view the government as a means to fixing all of the issues in the country. This distrust of the government, however, has made South Koreans feel powerless about enacting change in their own country. The citizens feel they have to go with the flow the government is headed in out of fear, which had led to the further decay of conditions within South Korea.

Eurocentrism is the idea that the whole world follows this ideal of “Western” culture, valuing its music, celebrities et al. above everything else even the native culture of various ethnic groups. Citizens in the West believe that since those in other regions of the world are familiar with tenants of their popular culture, then they must want to be like a Euro-centric country. That is one of the main dangers of the idea of Eurocentrism, however, because it underscores and undervalues any other cultures and their ideas immediately dismissing them as inferior comparatively.

Noor talks about this need to go beyond eurocentrism, where the ideas of other cultures are celebrated. Currently, American culture really only values Asian countries such as Japan, China and South Korea for their food and nothing else, really. This immediately discounts the numerous other facets of the different cultures of each of these countries, and reduces the likelihood that someone in the United States would want to learn more about them beyond the food. When eurocentrism is the status quo, it makes it less likely that people would want to stray from this and learn more about other countries. Eurocentrism also creates an idea of inferiority on the world stage, where the opinions, wants and needs of Western countries are prioritized above the needs of the East, such as helping repair Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall while Japan did not get aid after WWII.

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