Korea's dreams of a green revolution begin. On 28th October 2008, the 10th Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention is being held in the city of Changwon, Korea. This is the main event of the members of the Ramsar Convention, an abbreviated term for "The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat."
A wetland denotes an area of land saturated with moisture. Any form of land marked by meeting of land and water including ponds, streams, reservoirs, tidal flats, coral reefs, or rice paddies, can be considered a wetland, whether they contain salt or fresh water. A land filled with water creates a unique ecosystem, with a wide variety of flora and fauna including endangered species. Wetlands are also important for humans, as they serve an important function as nature's flood controllers by trapping water during flooding and channeling water away when rivers flow over their banks. They also serve to filter waterborne pollutants such as suspended solids, excess nitrogen, and phosphorus, thereby cleaning up people's water supply.
Recent series of freak weather and resulting catastrophes around the world caused by global warming have led people to focus on another ability that wetlands possess: the ability to trap and store large amounts of greenhouse gases. In short, wetlands can play a vital role in gauging and preparing for sudden climate change.
Yet it has been long since humanity realized that wetlands actually play such a crucial role for the earth. Because of the modern human obsession with industrialization and prevailing attitude towards wetlands, they were considered useless. It has been reported that fifty percent of previously-existing wetlands have disappeared due to predatory human development. A belated realization of the usefulness of wetlands have led people to come together at Ramsar, Iran in 1971 to sign an important international convention. Thus was born the Ramsar Convention, whose main purpose was the protection of wetlands of great ecological value. The parties were made to meet regularly every three years to make sure that efforts were indeed being made.
The Republic of Korea became a 101st signatory to the convention in 1997, but it is notable and meaningful in that a Ramsar COP is being held in a country without much consensus on the importance of wetlands. Now Korea stands to shed its previous image as a developing country forever, and catapult itself to the ranks of 'ecologically advanced' nations. Korea has 8 wetlands officially registered in the Ramsar Convention list of world's wetlands. The wetlands in Korea protected by the Ramsar Convention are diverse. They include High Moor, Yongneup of Mt. Daeam (Inje, Gangwon prov.), that was the first Korean wetland to enter the Ramsar list; Suncheon Bay, one of the largest coastal wetlands in the world; and the unique Mulyeongari-oreum crater wetland in Jeju island. The documentary is a chance to look back at the Ramsar-registered wetlands of Korea before the Ramsar COP. The program also seeks to raise the level of awareness about wetlands as precious resources, and find out ways to preserve our wetlands in the future.