For those who are feeling lost..
On the 4th of March, a big wildfire broke out in the county of Uljin in South Korea where it is my hometown where I grew up. The mountains right behind my family member and friends’ houses where they spent their whole life were burning. I got a text message from my mom that it looked like a war going on since the fire was spreading too fast and it was getting close to a nuclear power station that was in the city.
Uljin is a seaside town where it has countless big pine tree forests, and there are thousands and thousands of centuries-old pine trees. They are called “Geumgang Pine Tree Forest”, and the government is involved with the protection of this forest because of the particular type of pine tree that grows there.
The fire began Friday morning and has spread across more than 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) to the nearby city of Samcheok, destroying at least 400 homes and 400 other buildings. And it temporarily threatened a nuclear power station and a liquified natural gas plant. I was constantly contacting my family and friends while watching the news. I felt helpless, heartbroken, and guilty that my loved ones were suffering whereas I was here and couldn’t do anything for them. Even while I am writing this, my hometown is burning down. Luckily there are no casualties so far, but the forest that I walked with my dog, the nature where I spent my childhood, and centuries-old trees were burnt within a day. In a lot of ways, the last couple of weeks were emotionally challenging.
On top of that, the war in Ukraine raised my emotions. Like others, I was trying to understand what was going on, and soon after it became anxiety and frustration. The fact that a country can be invaded and a lot of people suffer from the war in 2022 was truly heartbreaking. There were many news and videos about politics and diplomacy, but to be honest with you, all I could think of was the people who were full of fear of losing their loved ones and home.
- Picture 1. Mental health effect of Ukraine war zone on children(Morenatti 2022)
It is not only about wildfire or the war but also the whole problems that we are facing right now such as climate crisis and inequality that make me frustrated and lost. As a person who is studying entrepreneurship, I have believed that good entrepreneurship can make the world better, but sometimes I doubt if I can make such changes. Especially during the past couple of weeks, I couldn’t help but question a lot to myself what I should aim for in my life and how I can contribute to this world. Such tragedies make people feel small and helpless.
But I always come to the conclusion that I still got to do what I can do right now. If I can influence the people around me a bit more positively and my community that I am involved in daily life happier by my existence, that might be enough. If I am someone’s hope and if there is hope in our lives, even if it is a small one, that might be enough.
You must be going through your own life struggles that I might have not faced, so I will not dare to say anything cliché, but I think it is still worth living in this world because there are more beautiful days than bad days. Although more than half of the year is winter where there is barely sunshine here in Finland, there are always days with a shining sun. There is always spring and summer after long long winter. We are living in this awful world full of hatred, but it is still easy to find love and warmth if you see around. If there is even small love and hope in our lives, it is still worth living, trying to make positive impacts starting from our community.
-Emilio Morenatti 2022, Mental health effect of Ukraine war zone on children, https://abcnews.go.com/International/mental-health-effects-ukraine-war-zone-children/story?id=83203801