12/23/2009, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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In Seoul, a Christmas tree is decorated with recycled garbage items

The archdiocese in the South Korean capital decides to put up a Christmas tree decorated with recycled items. Lights are powered by a bicycle. This way, people can reflect on the environment and the meaning of Christmas.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – The Archdiocese of Seoul has put up a tree in front of Myeongdong Cathedral, but one with a twist. This tree is decorated with recyclable items to remind worshippers that celebrating Christmas does not mean throwing away money or destroying the environment.

The idea was launched by “One-Body One-Spirit”, an association involved in social issues that is part of the Seoul Archdiocese.

“Currently the most important international issue is saving the environment. We set up our tree to show that the environment can be saved by individual actions,” Emilliana Ryu Jung-hee, a public relations officer with the association, said.

This Christmas tree has all the usual trappings, but closer inspection reveals that the ornaments are from garbage such as empty yoghurt bottles, compact disks and cans, while the lights are powered by a bicycle generator (pictured).

For the association’s volunteers, the tree highlights the actual meaning of the celebrations.

“Christmas has become so commercialised, pushing us toward consumption, which harms our environment,” said Catherine Shin Eun-joo, 23, a passerby.

Instead, the unconventional Christmas tree “makes me reflect on my daily life,” she explained.

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