Welcome to Fanlanthropy – a new series here at The Honey POP where we shine a light on incredible stans who are using the power of fandom to do good in the world and help out important causes. Fandoms are super powerful in sharing information and working on projects, so using those impressive skills for a good cause ends in some great results.
Climate change is a massive issue that we are facing right now, and it’s something we can no longer ignore. Most of the increase in global temperatures since 1950 has been caused by human activity, with the main causes being intense farming and agriculture to produce meat and crops, burning fossil fuels for energy, and removing forests and trees to make space for other land uses, all contributing to releasing greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, causing the global temperature to rise. The average Earth temperature is determined by the greenhouse effect, and global temperatures have increased by about 1° Celsius in the past century. Arctic sea ice and glaciers are melting, which will cause rises in sea level and will increasingly affect people in areas that depend on water from melting glaciers for their drinking water. The sea level is expected to rise between 0.5 and 1.5 meters before the end of the century. These are just some of the many concerning issues that we are facing.
If we don’t make major changes within the next ten years to our behavior, the damage we have done to the planet will be irreversible- causing oceans to be destroyed, superstorms to become worse, flooding of cities, the air quality will deteriorate, and food and energy will run out. There are numerous organizations, projects, and petitions to world leaders to help make a change, and one initiative has been created by K-POP fans.
K-POP idols and their fans have quite a good track record when it comes to raising awareness about climate change and calling for action. From BLACKPINK becoming official advocates for the COP26, Red Velvet being ambassadors of the UN International Day of Clean Air, MAMAMOO making a statement in their music video, SuperM joining the Global Citizen: A Recovery Plan for the World, and numerous projects being organized by ARMY, Aghases, and many more to target different areas. Now, there’s an exciting new project, Kpop4Planet, uniting all K-POP fandoms as they bring more awareness to the major issues at hand, and work together to contribute to making a difference. We spoke to the creator of the project to learn more.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi! I’m Nurul Sarifah, the organizer and face behind Kpop4Planet. I’m a university student that is concerned about the climate crisis, and I’m also an EXO-L, a fan of K-POP group EXO.
What inspired you to create Kpop4Planet?
Kpop4Planet is a movement that we started for fans that enjoy K-POP music (or other aspects of Korean culture), and at the same time, want to fight for climate justice together. We’ve seen a lot of good being done by K-POP fans over the years such as planting trees, adopting animals, and fundraising for the victims of natural disasters – but that isn’t something new to us as fans, because we often do that in celebration of our idol’s birthday, anniversary, and other occasions.
In Indonesia, K-POP fans have been boosting the #SavePapuaForest hashtag which helps people outside our country learn about the deforestation that’s happening in the Papua forest. So we think that a lot more people should know about K-POP fans’ involvement in these movements, especially those that help a lot of people. We also hope the existence of Kpop4Planet will help other people see our work from a different perspective and break the stereotypes people have of K-POP fans.
What is the mission of the project?
Right now we are trying to find more like-minded people that are interested in Korean culture – like K-POP music, but also deeply care about the climate crisis. We aim to harness the activism at the heart of K-culture to drive governments and businesses to take action and become more ambitious in tackling climate justice.
How do you think the K-POP industry can help with sustainability and can help make a difference in terms of climate change?
One of the main issues in the K-POP industry is the waste from albums and the extra waste from mass buying albums. As a fan, I do love buying CDs because I want to support my idols and enjoy their music. But, I sometimes forget the fact that it does come at a cost to the environment. I hope the K-POP industry will create more sustainable alternative goods so that we can enjoy the K-POP merch and not worry about harming our earth at the same time.
Why is it important for fans to pay attention and get involved?
K-POP fans are mostly from Gen Z and spend lots of time on social media. As of 2019, 100 million K-culture fans exist and if we, as global citizens and consumers, unite for the planet, we will be the strongest voice in the climate community. Gen Z also has a creative way of expressing their thoughts and opinions through social media (e.g. TikTok videos). Imagine how powerful it will be if they’re using it to raise awareness and get involved in speaking up about social and climate justice.
We may take collaborative action with the fans through different platforms to help people to understand the importance of taking climate action seriously, especially for our generation.
KPOP4Planet is still quite new – what do you have planned for the project that you can tell us about?
We know that the climate crisis is a far more powerful catastrophe than COVID-19, and will be at the forefront of the geopolitical stage for years after the pandemic is eradicated. The coronavirus has been an alarm bell on which humanity is forced to reflect. This year, we will push for our demands to be heard, convincing governments, businesses, corporations, and ourselves as global citizens (with K-POP fans) and armed with global activism to take immediate climate action.
We know of several KPOP artists such as BTS, BLACKPINK, and EXO getting involved in supporting a change – how do they as artists inspire you?
I think other than my own self-awareness, my idols’ influence also plays a role in making me take climate action. Seeing my idols do good (for other people and the planet) makes me want to do the same thing. As we all know, the involvement of BLACKPINK as the ambassador for the COP26 event has made Blinks and other K-POP fandoms begin to speak out about the climate crisis. We’re happy to join the movement.
That’s why it will be more meaningful if the idols also support the fans’ involvement – it’s inspired by idols and carried out by fans, and that relationship is beautiful.
It’s pretty evident how powerful fandoms are as a whole – what do you think about fandoms and the importance of using that platform for important causes such as this one?
K-POP fans are getting global recognition as they have stood up for social justice initiatives like the Black Lives Matter online campaigns and by donating to charities and boosting the hashtags on Twitter. K-POP fans are all over the world regardless of race, belief, or region – easily make friends and connect over their favorite music and idols. Solidarity beyond all borders is very important because this kind of collective action is desperately needed for the climate crisis.
Their participation shows their power as a collective movement, and I think the use of social media is important as it creates awareness of the K-POP fans’ good deeds as well as climate change issues. K-POP fans know how to make social media work for them so that they are heard.
How can people support KPOP4Planet?
One of the easiest ways to support us is by following us on Instagram and Twitter so we can discuss how we can take action together. You can also check out our website to support our upcoming campaign.
Thanks, Nurul! You’re making a big change and we know idols and fans will be proud of you!
Learn more about other incredible fan projects here!
Featured Image Source: Bibi Lara | The Honey POP