Due to prolonged COVID-19 crisis, there is growing concern not only over social problems such as depression, lethargy, and financial difficulties but also over environmental pollution caused by the increased use of face masks and disposables. The members of ASEZ WAO, the Church of God Young Adult Worker Volunteer Group, set out to carry out its regular volunteer service to encourage their neighbors with Mother’s love and improve the environmental condition of the earth.
Since November 2020, about 7,300 man-days (as of December 18) have volunteered in 19 countries, including Korea, U.S., U.K., India, Japan, Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, and the Rep. of South Africa.
They also carried out the “Mother’s Forest” campaign in U.S., U.K., Thailand, Chinese Taipei, and Peru. The members in Durham, North Carolina, U.S., planted 17 trees in Red Maple Park in partnership with the local government offices; and the members in Mexico City, Mexico, planted 20 seedlings after cleaning up the environment around Parque Jardines del Sur. In New Zealand, they signed an MOU with the person in charge of the City of Auckland, and pledged to regularly plant trees in designated parks.
On holidays, as part of “No More GPGP” campaign, they carried out cleanups in rivers, parks, beaches, and walking trails in 12 countries. They collected 10 tonnes of plastic waste while strictly adhering to COVID-19 prevention guidelines such as wearing face masks, checking their body temperature, and cleaning hands with hand sanitizer. And in the countries under travel restrictions, they introduced the activity to people through online signature-seeking campaign and drew much support from the citizens.
Sister Lee Su-hyeon who took part in the cleanup in Korea said, “The streets were dirtier than I had thought, but after we picked up the trash together, they became clean in no time.” She added that she could fully realize the meaning of the saying, “One step of ten people is more important than ten steps of one person.” The members in Daejeon, Korea, visited a borough office and held a conference to inform citizens of the risk of plastic wastes. The head of the borough council led the members to heavily polluted areas in his jurisdiction, and provided necessary supplies for the campaign.
“Heart to Heart” campaign was held in 13 countries and received fervent response. The members visited COVID-19 response organizations such as public health centers, hospitals, police stations, and fire stations, and delivered goods and hand-written letters to encourage them. They wrote messages of appreciation and encouragement such as “We hope that our little efforts can be of help for alleviating your tiredness,” and “Thanks to your hard work day and night, we spend our days in safety.” The members in San Diego, U.S., delivered 200 support kits to SHARP Memorial Hospital; and the members in Manchester, U.K., delivered 40 support kits to the waiting room for ambulance workers, who work day and night due to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director of Inamdar Multispeciality Hospital in Pune, India, expressed his hope to continue to work with ASEZ WAO, saying, “In every organization, the role of people at the very front line is very important. Particularly, in the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic, the role of the nursing staff who undertakes dangerous tasks is very important. I’m deeply grateful to ASEZ WAO for sincerely expressing gratitude to not only one representative of the nursing department, but also to every single nursing staff member.”
Sister Park Ji-na said after visiting Cayetano Heredia National Hospital, Peru, “Seeing people taking photos together after receiving support kits and expressing gratitude with their thumbs up, I felt that love and care give great joy to everyone.”
ASEZ WAO members also make every effort to raise environmental awareness at their workplaces. “Green Workplace” is a campaign for developing good habits to protect the environment, starting from each individual’s workplace for combating climate change. The members practiced using public transportation, using reusable paper, and cutting down on the use of disposables, and encouraged participation and drew interest from people around by equipping their workplace with campaign panels and stickers and by presenting gifts of mug cups. One manufacturing company in Korea held “Green Workplace” seminar for all their employees; and in New Windsor, NY, U.S. too, the online seminar for employees was held.
“Mother’s Forest” is the tree planting movement for reducing greenhouse gas emission and combating climate change. Under the slogan, “Every person’s small effort will work together to change the world,” ASEZ WAO members carry out the “Planting One Tree per Person” project. ASEZ WAO has been implementing the project to plant trees all around the world both on and offline.
GPGP is a gigantic pile of 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. ASEZ WAO delivers a message to the international community that humans must prevent any more formation of GPGP by collecting 80,000 tonnes of plastic that has been dumped on land.
“Heart to Heart” is a campaign whereby we deliver letters of encouragement and snacks to the medical staff who work at the forefront of combating COVID-19.
There are 11 practices that can be classified into Power Saving, Water Saving, and Frugal Life for combating climate change. Anyone can check the practice items at asezwao.org website, and take part in the campaign, confirming how much CO2 emission they are reducing by following the practices.