The Korea Herald


[ Forum] Korea should promote eco-friendly lifestyles more, says Julian Quintart

Local Belgian TV personality and environmental activist says veganism, zero waste need more attention in Korea

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : May 18, 2023 - 15:14

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Julian Quintart, an environmental activist, talks to The Korea Herald during an interview in Seoul, May 4. (Im Se-jun/Herald Business) Julian Quintart, an environmental activist, talks to The Korea Herald during an interview in Seoul, May 4. (Im Se-jun/Herald Business)

For local Belgian TV personality Julian Quintart, South Korea, the country where he has lived for the last 19 years, is a society where consumption is highly prioritized and maximized. The 35-year-old, who has become a vegan and an environmental activist in recent years, said he believes that this aspect of Korea's culture will fade away because it is not sustainable.

“Koreans are used to early morning deliveries and 24-hour services, but these cultures will ultimately change, as they are unsustainable. No economic growth can exist when the environment is destroyed," he said in an interview with The Korea Herald.

Quintart who has drawn public attention with his smooth Korean language skills for years, is now more well-known for his love and devotion to the environment and eco-friendly lifestyle. He also works as an EU goodwill ambassador for climate action.

As an environmental activist, Quintart has been actively working to raise awareness about the impact of overconsumption on the environment and to encourage people to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. He believes that South Korea has the potential to lead the way in creating a more sustainable and equitable society, but that this will require a fundamental change in the way people think about consumption and their place in the world.

He picked two documentary films that had a significant influence on his decision to become an environment activist. "The Light Bulb Conspiracy" by director Cosima Dannoritzer was the first trigger of his decision to fight for an eco-friendly lifestyle and society. The film deals with "planned obsolescence," which is the notion that products are intentionally designed to break down quickly in order to promote frequent consumption, even though technology to produce better and more long-lasting products exists.

“After watching the documentary, I changed all the lights in my house to LEDs and began to think deeply about the waste we make,” he said.

The shock that he received after watching "The Game Changers" -- a documentary film by Louie Psihoyos released in February that deals with veganism -- was even bigger.

“It was an awkward idea that eating meat for a healthy body is not essential. But the top two players in the recent Wimbledon tennis tournament were both vegans. The fact that top-class athletes can be vegans is quite shocking," reflected Quintart.

However, it is not right to force others to become vegan or impose strict standards on others, he said. "I am not perfect either. One should try with a speed that he or she is comfortable with. It is enough to try to consume goods that exclude meat and animal testing to the best of one’s knowledge."

To promote eco-friendly lifestyles such as veganism and zero waste better and to more people, Quintart is busy preparing his new business in Itaewon, Seoul, which will offer all eco-friendly products, vegan food and lectures related to the environment. He urged the media to feel more responsible about encouraging people to care about the environment, just like he does.

“The annual (number of) climate refugees have outnumbered the annual casualties due to traffic accidents. Climate change has become a daily disaster already," he stressed.

Sometimes individual efforts can seem pointless, but continuous efforts will ultimately bring the change, said Quintart.

"We feel at a loss because we look for a complete transition, but in fact, the tipping point that we really need is only about 10 percent. Society will surely move in a better direction if we just achieve a change of 10 percent."

Quintart will appear at the Forum hosted by Herald Corp. at the Shilla Seoul on May 24, as a moderator and panelist.