A Global Campaign Jointly Held by Intl. WeLoveU Foundation and Monthly "Woman Dong-A"

“Have you tried it? It’s easier than I thought.”

It is about the “BeBRAVE Challenge.” It is a global environmental campaign carried out by the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation and Monthly “Woman Dong-A.” Following the Recycling Challenge carried out last year, this was the second challenge held from May 25 to June 17 to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5. The goal is for people around the world to value the environment and participate in revitalizing the environment in their daily lives. The “BeBRAVE Challenge” is not some grand environmental movement, but anyone brave can do it anywhere. If you have braveness and show it, you can get what you need.

Actually, most of the participants said that they hesitated, standing in front of the store, when they first started the challenge. They were hesitant to take out the Tupperware brought from their houses, seeing that the restaurants had their own packing materials ready. Also, they were afraid that the workers at the restaurants wouldn’t like the idea. It is true that this challenge needed a lot of braveness just like its name. However, the participants say that everything went smoothly as soon as they tried it. Actually, the workers of the restaurants were delighted to hear about the challenge and even gave them more amount of food, saying that they were doing such a great job.

Not long after the challenge began, posts about the campaign from the participants poured out on social media (instagram, blog, etc.). During the campaign that lasted not even for a month, 1,089 pictures of foods from all around the world in reusable containers were uploaded; there was a great variety of foods including vegetables and fruits such as green onions, cucumbers, apples, and mangoes as well as chicken, bread, coffee, ice cream, and all different types of stew and soup from various countries. It was also fun to see different types of markets and grocery stores around the world.

The variety of participating countries was also big. Including Korea, a total of 24 countries such as the U.S., U.K., Vietnam, Peru, Germany, Thailand, New Zealand, Samoa, Zambia, and Hungary participated in the challenge, and the number of posts from Vietnam, Brazil, and Germany was noticeably high. What makes this campaign more meaningful is the fact that many people around the world participated in this campaign with interest in environmental issues.

A member with the ID “sssj5187” who posted a photo of fried chicken in her own pot wrote, “It wasn’t hard at all. I think it’s something that anyone can participate in.” Manuel Francisco Machuca Kiro from Peru wrote, “Every Sunday evening, I buy chicken soup in a nearby store with my three children. Bringing the chicken soup in my own pot this time, I felt like I myself made that soup.” A member with the nickname Kim David said that he felt bad for the fact that humans are causing damage to animals and plants after watching the environmental documentary. He posted a picture of his mesh-shaped bathing suit bag that he used to put potatoes during this challenge. A member named Kim Jeong** wrote, “I felt like I’ve become a patriot by using my own bowl for this stew, and it feels great.”

A Vietnamese child holding a bowl of pork with his cheerful eyes caught the viewers’ attention, too; he probably went to the store with his parents. The photo was posted by a member with the nickname Huy Lường. He wrote, “My mindset about protecting the environment changed while participating in this meaningful campaign. I think it’s a good way to have a good habit.” A member with the nickname Carmelo Sammarco from Germany used his own bowl to put bread and wrote, “It feels great to do something for the environment,” and a member named Sergio Joel Canales Rivera from Peru wrote, “I’m so happy that I can help protect the environment with this small action.” A couple in the U.K. used their own shopping basket for the groceries and wrote, “It’s heartwarming to know that small actions that we take in our daily lives can make a difference in the environment.” All the participants expressed their excitement for the fact that they were able to participate in the environmental movement with such small actions.

Just because the campaign is over, it does not mean that they will end the environmental movement. The WeLoveU members continue to post comments about the campaign on social media although the campaign ended, urging people to have interest in the environment. It means that they are determined to continue their activities as environmental guards, regardless of the campaign.

Practice Leads Us to Think About the Environment

Those who participated in the campaign say as follows: “It’s hard to start at first, and once you start it, you soon realize that it’s nothing difficult.” They say that they never thought that they could practice environmental protection so easily in their daily lives.

Park, a worker in her 40s, decided to try the BeBRAVE Challenge again after her first successful attempt; this time, she decided to do it at the seafood section of the supermarket. She said that the rain didn’t bother her probably because she knew that she was doing it for the environment. As she was about to enter the store, there was something that stopped her. It was the wet umbrella bags placed at the store entrance. She said she would have felt guiltless using one if it was before, but this time, she was hesitant to use one.

It was not only her who started feeling that way about using disposable products. All those who participated in the BeBRAVE Challenge say the same thing. They say that they have been damaging environment in their daily lives without even realizing it. Disposable coffee cups, food packaging materials, baby wipes which have become household necessities, face masks, package boxes, delivery food containers, etc. The things that we’ve been using and discarding without thinking about the consequences due to convenience have been a bad influence on the environment. It means that “I” myself, not others, was the main contributor to the environmental pollution.

Then what should we do? There is something we can do. It is to actively participate in protecting the environment, even in the smallest thing. Just like participating in this campaign! This way, we become aware of our careless actions and start putting into practice even small things for the environment. Small efforts from valuing the environment can restore the earth, which is suffering from garbage.

This campaign was carried out mostly when buying food and groceries, but it can also be practiced in a variety of ways. Many environment-friendly companies are already carrying out similar campaigns and events. In Korea, a store that sells its products without packaging materials went viral as a popular store for Millennials and Generation Z, and a supermarket is also operating a refill station (for shampoo, detergent, etc.). Similar refill stores are gaining popularity in many countries, including Australia, U.S., and U.K.

The WeLoveU will continue to take the lead in working for the environment. It’s because we know very well that it is for all of us.

Monthly Woman Dong-a is going to select 30 of the challenge posts and give them gifts. Check it out in the July issue of Woman Dong-a.