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TV show on fight against climate change needed, says actor Kong Hyo-jin

A screenshot from the teaser for “No Impact Day” shows three actors planting trees at the mountains of Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. (KBS)
A screenshot from the teaser for “No Impact Day” shows three actors planting trees at the mountains of Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. (KBS)

For top actor Kong Hyo-jin, raising awareness on environmental issues and fighting against climate change are causes that are very close to her heart.

“I wrote a book to talk about the environment and introduce basic measures that anyone can take to save the Earth from the climate crisis 10 years ago. Nothing has changed since then. I thought I needed a place to talk more about this issue to keep me alert about the ongoing climate crisis,” Kong said during an online press conference on Thursday.

Public broadcaster KBS’ new program, “No Impact Day,” centers around three actors -- Kong Hyo-jin, Lee Chun-hee and Jeon Hae-jin -- who live on Jukdo, an island in South Chungcheong Province, and try to go carbon neutral for a week.

Asked why the married couple, Lee and Jeon, decided to co-star in the program with Kong, Lee said Kong’s sincerity had moved him.

“I was hesitant to star in the program at first, because I thought I did not deserve to be on this show,” Lee said.

“While it is a variety show, ‘No Impact Day’ is being made to raise public awareness about environmental issues. I thought someone with more knowledge and experience about the environment should star in the program. But Kong told me that making small changes, like properly taking out the garbage after camping or going on a picnic, is a huge success. Kong’s sincere persuasion won my heart,” Lee said.

KBS’ new Thursday night program starts with an overall plan to plant 10,000 trees at the mountains of Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, where wildfire burned through an area the size of 357 soccer fields in February.

Any action that goes against the goal of reaching carbon neutrality are counted as a penalty, decreasing the number of trees from the tally.

The actors said they had tried everything they could to maintain the number of trees, but producing garbage was sometimes inevitable.

“Efforts to go carbon neutral is important, but actions to produce minimum waste seems more important,” Kong said.

She pointed to the common practice of celebrities, including actors, who send food trucks to filming sites as a gesture of goodwill and to cheer on colleagues and the cast and crew.

“I have not received such trucks for almost two years. The truck simply produces huge amounts of garbage. I found some food truck companies, which use renewable cups and dishes, and tried to tell my colleagues to contact them when necessary,” the actor added.

The variety show airs on KBS at 10:40 p.m. Thursday.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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