Students attend biodiversity conference in Pyeongchang

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A biennial conference seeking to preserve biological variation and pursue sustainable development, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 12) has held its twelfth meeting in Pyeongchang, Korea. Eight students interested in protecting the environment attended the event in order to present in front of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12.

Five juniors, Lauren Ahn, Sam Yang, Yanis Park, Paul Lee and Jeeho Tae, started off the event by presenting a research paper on the current ecological state of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which they are also finalizing for a competition. According to Yanis, their project was specifically focused on observing the growth of the narrow-leaf nettles by measuring their height, counting the number growing in an area, as well as those of other major plants in the area.

“Having participated in excursions to study the ecology of the DMZ for the past two years, I attended this conference to learn more about what biodiversity is,” Lauren said. “I learned that just because some environmental issues, such as rainforest destruction, are not so obvious to someone who is living in Seoul does not mean that the problems are not urgent.”

Afterwards, the students also advocated the importance of preserving the ecology of the DMZ. Three sophomores, Grace Lee, Jaeha Kim, and David Choe wrote a resolution that suggested possible policies, such as taking down the fences that prevent animals from roaming around freely and thus restrict the gene pool. According to Yanis, who is the President of Green Club, attending the conference made her feel more personally involved in the cause of protecting the environment.

“I met people from different organizations who were interested in having the youth contribute to their cause of preserving natural habitats,” Yanis said. “I think it will be a brilliant idea for the [Green Club members] to help out so I am contacting people to find out how we could do so.”