Reply To: Reflections by Maria on lecture of 9 June

Author Replies # Posted on June 9, 2014 at 23:36

Reflection on Persson, 9.6.2014
Nik Petek

Today we had a very interesting hybrid between a lecture and discussion. I liked the lecture and Persson’s way of thinking on how we can use renewable energy and use energy derived from sources other than fossil fuel. I was able to draw many parallels between Sweden and Slovenia, my home country. Slovenia relies on hydro-energy, has a nuclear power plant, and about two thirds of it are unused forests. Lying on the Adriatic Sea and experiencing proper summers and proper winters, it gets its fair share of sunlight throughout the year, and solar panels are becoming more popular (though still out of price range for most Slovenians), and it has a low population density. These are characteristics similar to Sweden.

But, in my experience, Slovenians are not too concerned with the global climate change, although they do believe in it. The news that I read/watch from time to time never correlates the droughts (which in Slovenia means poor rains) with the global climate change aspect. When they report on local climate and weather phenomena, they report it as if it is separate from the global climate. Though the discussions on global climate do get coverage, it is not nearly as prominent a topic as it is on social media, like facebook (this might also be because of the groups I am a member on on facebook). This is really unfortunate, as Slovenia is one of the countries with the highest number of diverse ecosystems in 20.000km2. I think there is a lot of potential to use the Slovenian forests to capture the CO2 and use the wood for building and furniture. Unlike Sweden, Slovenia only experiences winters of -20 C, so wood is a viable construction material even for winter-times. So while Slovenia is far away from being an EU leader in green energy consumption and sustainable development, the potential is there.

Since Persson’s talk was also concerned with economy and labour, one of the things I was wondering during the lecture was: How does the relationship people have with their work/employment affect how they feel about the nature and how their work directly or indirectly affects the environment? This is a very complex question and one that we are far away from answering. Research has shown that people that work on their products (in group or individually) from start till finish (i.e. do not work on a production line) are a lot happier doing their work, are more interested in it, and value it more. The list goes on and on. There is also a software company in Australia who gives its employees 1 day a week to work on any project they want, as long as they bring back a product or have something to present to the group. The employees love it and it allows them to be creative. Furthermore, developed countries that are more egalitarian (e.g. Sweden, Finland, Japan) are also the ones which care more about climate change than the less egalitarian developed countries (e.g. UK, USA). This is only a correlation, not a causation. However, in the more egalitarian developed countries people are also happier doing their work and happier in general. This is fundamental in the relationship the nation’s population has with the economy and its environment.