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K-pop Fans Forge Path in Climate Activism, Influencing Corporate Decisions

Fans of Korean pop bands worldwide are increasingly leveraging their vast online community for climate and environmental activism, targeting business deals tied to coal power, advocating for waste reduction within the K-pop industry, and raising awareness about climate issues.

Kpop4Planet, an environmental group founded in 2021 by K-pop fans Nurul Sarifah and Dayeon Lee, has gained traction. Recently, it successfully petitioned Hyundai Motor Co., leading to the cancellation of a deal associated with coal power plants in Indonesia.

Collaborations between Kpop4Planet and other climate activist groups highlight the growing influence of K-pop fandoms in online lobbying and protest activities. Euijin Kim from Solutions for Our Climate notes the effectiveness of Kpop4Planet in mobilizing people and disseminating information through social media.

While the fight against a coal-burning power plant near a beloved K-pop site hasn’t halted the project, it has amplified awareness about environmental concerns. Lee emphasizes the potential of unified K-pop fandom to drive social change sustainably.

K-pop fan clubs have a history of activism and philanthropy dating back to the 1960s. Sarifah and Lee’s initiative aligns with this tradition, focusing initially on reducing waste associated with K-pop merchandise.

Their efforts have sparked changes within the industry, prompting major entertainment companies to adopt eco-friendly practices. Despite the lack of direct responses, Lee considers these developments a success.

Kpop4Planet’s campaign against Hyundai targeted an agreement linked to coal power in Indonesia. By leveraging BTS’s collaboration with Hyundai, they gathered over 10,000 signatures, leading to Hyundai’s withdrawal from the project.

Hyundai confirmed the termination of the agreement, signaling a victory for grassroots activism and environmental advocacy.

The partnership between K-pop fans and climate activism underscores the potential for collective action to drive meaningful change, echoing a global call for corporate responsibility in combating climate change.

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