[Interview] Allure Korea April 2018 Issue ‘I a…

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When he’s not acting. No, even when he’s acting, there is one
obvious direction in his mind. Doing what he can for the environment, and
thinking that a sustainable future is a small but very powerful thing. One of
them is by participating in Greenpeace’s movements.

How did your fate with
Greenpeace start?

I started becoming interested with the environment after I came
back from Africa, and that’s when I realized Greenpeace was the easiest one to

It seems like you had a
good memory of Africa. I’m curious I’ve heard quite a lot of storied about
Africa. What did you do there?

I went to an African desert, and the desert is a place where
nature and life are separated. That’s when I felt the beauty and importance of
the environment. I was so interested in nature while travelling, it left a good
impression to me. Water was so precious there than 10 people shared a bottle of
water to refresh themselves up, it was enough.

That suggests we can wash
up with that much amount of water

That’s enough. I went there for 10 days and I didn’t feel sick at
all. Since then, I’ve gotten used to wash with small amount of water. Through
that experience, I was able to partner with Greenpeace naturally.

You started by being
Greenpeace’s donater. How do I become one too?

It’s very simple! Anyone can start easily with a small amount on
the internet. The membership process is easy too.

You joined several
campaigns for Greenpeace afterwards. The micro-plastic campaign has been one of
Greenpeace’s major campaigns over the years. That’s how I got to know
Greenpeace in the first place.

If you care a little more about it, you can help to accomplish the
mission. I contributed a tiny bit of help at first and improved little by
little afterwards. I think it’s important to first understand the purpose of
this campaign. If you understand them, you should be able to not use
(plastics). It might be difficult to not use plastic materials at all, but it’s
easy ‘to not use plastic products’. Just by raising awareness to others, people
will contribute easily.

Thanks to that, plastic
products are slowly getting reduced.

In that case, I do think companies start changing their strategies
to follow consumer trends. I think that fact is important.

Is there anything else to
pay attention to in the everyday life?

I try not to use disposable plastics. For instance, I don’t get
the life at all at coffee shops. They are also unnecessary if you drink them at
the store. The lid is all made out of plastic. Also, don’t use a straw to
drink. There is water purifier everywhere now. So I would rather carry and drink
from a tumbler rather than bottled water.

I wonder what tumbler Ryu
Junyeol uses?

It’s a gift from my fans. There are so many. I change tumblers
depending on my mood. There are so many tumblers that I can’t say it one by

You also went on-board the
environmental monitoring ship in Taipei, Taiwan and received a training for a

This activity is relevant to the micro-plastic issue. There was a
plastic-zero campaign in Taiwan. I took the time to experience what Greenpeace
does and what it does with the philosophy.

How is the experience on
the ship different from that on the ground?

I could feel the wonderfulness of nature on its own. Humans are
born on land and therefore live on land. If they live artificially under water,
they can’t handle their own bodies, I even got seasick on the ship. As we
experienced sailing on the sea, we felt like we’re nothing. I had a lot of
(good) feelings as I watched Greenpeace working on ships for various campaigns.
It’s a private organization. You can’t force someone to do it, can you? Their
passion, actions and decisions are fantastic.

Do you have any
experiences you’d like to share with your fans and readers?

There were many good things. I specifically remember the ‘Violence
and Non-Violence’ session. We began by sharing what each term means and what
actions fall into the category. As a result, you learn that it can be
interpreted differently from your original intention by someone else. I thought
some actions were non-violent, but I have come to think that that can also be
regarded as violence. I think we can apply that to the relationship between men
and nature. I think that just by living and breathing, it can cause violence
(harm) to any object, but isn’t that a natural relationship between men and

What if you have a chance
to join Greenpeace’s Antarctic activity someday?

Antarctica? I there’s a chance, I’ll do it anytime.

I heard it takes about a
month to complete, is it possible with your busy schedule?

Since we have a longer time to harm the Earth, I think that is a
very short time.

What is Greenpeace doing

I think they’re taking full advantage of offline and online
platforms for their campaigns. And I think it’s bigger than you think? There
are more supporters than you can imagine. There are a lot of people who are
interested in Greenpeace. Anyone can participate just by writing a message on
their SNS accounts.

What was the most
memorable moment?

I was very impressed when I heard that my fans were involved in
planting trees and creating forests. I also supervise plastic laws and do
various things, and I really appreciate them because they produced results.

You started out as an
environmental activist as you supported Greenpeace. What do you have in mind

I’m following my principle of trying something small. If you had
used disposable plastics without thinking about anything, I would think about
what would happen to the Earth if I didn’t used them. Be a great help to the
environment even if a lot of people won’t spend their day to do it. That’s what
I think. ‘Ryu Junyeol does it, should I do it too?’ I want you to think like
this. Let’s try coffee without the lid. It’s not difficult.

Do you try to improve your
mission every day?

When you sponsor Greenpeace, you’ll get a small booklet that
contains a lot of information. There’s a lot of useful information that’s not
difficult to do. It’s small money, but if you keep doing it, you can get a big
return someday. The return will be a clean nature and environment.

What about living in the
nature away from the city? You recently filmed in the nature, right? There must
be other interesting things to do.

Living in the nature isn’t my cup of tea (Laughs). When I did
<Little Forest>, I realized that it’s really hard to farm. Though I
prefer seas rather than mountains, I like cities.  I’d like to increase Earth’s life span by a
hundred or thousand years with small choices and attention. <Little
Forest> filming was great. I think it’s my instinct to choose nature when I
go on vacation, but living there is a different story.

Knowing and following
certain values makes you uncomfortable. What do you do when you have that

I take it easy. You don’t have to do it if you don’t feel
comfortable. I guess so. But even though it’s uncomfortable at first, when you
try a little, you might get used to it. It’s not that difficult to tolerate a
small discomfort. I recently went to Kenya, and they have legally banned
plastic bags. The country also has one of the strongest sanctions on plastic
bags in the world. The fine is over 40 Million Won (approx. USD 40K) if you
have a plastic bag with you. So I never used plastic bags, but I didn’t have
any inconveniences with plastic bags.

Do you talk about the
environment and exchange opinions with your colleagues like this?

There are many more celebrities who are interested in environment
than I had thought. When I talk about it, I learnt a lot, especially about
animals, a topic which I’m not very familiar about. Lim Sunrye, the director
whom I worked with in <Little Forest> is doing a great cause in Kara. She
told me a lot of things related to animals and I talked about the micro-plastic
issues in return. I think it’s a natural conversation that gives off positive
energy. Many fellow actors and staff were also interested in the story.

Are there any interesting
projects related to the environment?

In the movie industry, I think it’s very inspiring to see the
movie <Erin Borokovich> which Julia Roberts appeared in, it was inspired
by a real-life environmental photographer. I follow environmental photographers
and get a lot of inspirations from environmental photos. Whenever I see a
beautiful picture, I want to cherish them.

What other environmental
activities are you going to do this year?

The Emperor Penguin is the main character this year. I donated to
the Antarctic Activities too. Even here in the studio, we have emperor penguin
models too. An emoticon of Adelie penguin is also coming soon, and I would like
to use that aggressively. They say the glaciers have melted due to climate
change. It is also said that the number of species is decreasing as the
penguins have to go as far as 100 kilometers out of their homes to find food.

Translations: andianpranaya on behalf of ryukingdom