There’s finally some green on those fields of grass and brightly colored flowers blooming from treetop to treetop. Spring is here at last on planet earth and those of us in love with it can’t help but feel a little guilty about the lack of lovin’ we’ve been givin’ it. In April, with Earth Day on the 22nd and Sik-mok-il (Korea’s version of Earth Day, celebrated by planting trees) on the 5th, it’s a good time to be (more) environmentally friendly. To inspire you, here are four spots in Seoul paving the path for a greener city.
1. City Hall Green Wall
Once named the largest vertical garden in the Guiness World Records. The Green Wall is one of the most popular attraction at City Hall and spans over seven floors, measuring 1,516 m2 with approximately 65,000 plants of 14 different species. This wall is not only an architectural feat, but also a natural air filter that can decrease methanol indoors by up to 55% and help the building maintain cooler temperatures in the summer. If a wall can do this much, surely you can too. 110, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu (02-120). Mon–Fri 9am–6pm, Sat 9am–1pm.
2. Pureun Arboretum
The Pureun Arboretum opened in 2013 as the first municipal arboretum that was built to preserve Seoul’s natural reservoir. It spans more than 100,000 m2 and is organized into different themed gardens, including the Rose Garden, which has over 60 types of roses; the Rock Garden; the Edible Garden and more. The arboretum also encompasses 2,000 different genuses of plants and various species of insects, birds and animals. 240, Yeongodngro, Guro-gu (02-2686-3200). 5am–10pm. Free.
3. Green Toy Library
“Toy libraries” have a long history, having started in Stockholm in 1963. Here, you can borrow toys, donate old ones and even get broken toys fixed. The objective is to provide an environment and the tools through which parents and kids can play together. Instead of splurging on that new toy or throwing the old one(s) out, take your kids to the toy library, which is inside Euljiro 1-ga Station, where they can meet new friends and learn about recycling. B1, 42, Jung-gu, Euljiro 1-ga (seoultoy.or.kr, 02-753-0222). Tue– Fri 10am–7:30pm, Sat 10am–3:30pm. Annual fee 10,000 won.
4. WWOOF Korea Guesthouse
First launched in England, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) aims to connect farms with volunteers to promote sustainable farming practices. Run by WWOOF Korea, this guesthouse is a small hanok that only uses locally sourced and eco-friendly products, from sugar to shampoos and toilet paper. Stay at the hostel or, in exchange for meals, volunteer at WWOOF in the Korean countryside. 52-11, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu (wwoofkoreaguesthouse.com, 070-8288-1289). Gaenari Room 100,000 won.