Idling Engines & Nicotine Use in Korea

This entry was published in the Korea Herald newspaper, on June 2, 2011, in a new section called Reader’s Voive-of which my letter was among the first three. Thank you Editor John Power, and members of the Korea Herald staff, for selecting and publishing my opinions on these matters.

Dear Fellow Residents of Korea,

We all want a clean environment, don’t we; for ourselves, our children, and for their children-right?

I am “a foreigner”, as many locals might choose to call me, the Korean word for which, means ‘one from outside’. I was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, and started growing up here, in South Korea, where in the Korean war, my late uncle Charlie Carroll fought the Chinese and North Koreans, all those years ago. He unofficially adopted a boy who was homeless, and almost died here, many times. Caring about others is our family legacy. I am a relationship counselor-myself; my sister is a therapist, my mother a day care facilitator, and my father-a democratic activist.

So here I am; 11 years total, in your land. I know you, and I care about you.

So here comes the hard part; the admonition: please, stop idling your vehicles. You are a conscientious people. An industrious people, a clever people. Even if you pay no thought to the climate crisis we humans are facing, don’t you want to save money on the fuel you put in your cars? You import it; it can’t be cheap.

If you go to any other developed country, you will be hard-pressed to see people sitting in their cars-or worse, nearby-or nowhere to be seen-whilst their cars, trucks, or scooters run, pumping global warming gasses into the atmosphere.

And on a related note; please get on the anti-smoking bandwaggon. Korean men; what illusion are you suffering from? Cigarettes have 4,000 chemicals in them, nineteen which cause cancer), including rat poison, and radiactive compounds.

From Wikipedia:

products that bind to DNA and cause many genetic mutations. There are over 19 known chemicalcarcinogens in cigarette smoke. Tobacco also contains nicotine, which is a highly addictivepsychoactive chemical. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine causes physical and psychological dependency. Tobacco use is a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant smokers, it contributes to a number of other threats to the health of the fetus such as premature births and low birth weight and increases by 1.4 to 3 times the chance for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).[9] The result of scientific studies done in neonatal rats seems to indicate that exposure to cigarette smoke in the womb may reduce the fetal brain’s ability to recognize hypoxic conditions, thus increasing the chance of accidentalasphyxiation.[10] Incidence of impotence is approximately 85 percent higher in male smokers compared to non-smokers,[11] and is a key factor causing erectile dysfunction (ED).[11][12][13]


Sincerely wishing you love, peace, and joy,

Carl Atteniese


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