Speech from Slovenia: Pavel Gantar on cleaning and caring (Apr 14)

Read a great speech given as the introductory speech on the debate on waste management entitled "Clean Slovenia forever!" by Pavel Gantar - long time civic activist, human rights protector, Slovenian politician and sociologist now a Chairman of the National Assembly of Slovenia.  


I thank you for the opportunity to say a few words in the introduction to today's debate on waste management "Clean Slovenia forever".

When our ancestors, or perhaps some creatures from other planets on a temporary or permanent visit to our planet in a few centuries, will start to assess our civilization in the 20th and 21st century, perhaps they won't judge it with words we use today and now -- as information society, as a society based on knowledge and human resources -- but it will be judged according to what we leave behind.

Maybe for our civilization the name "waste society" will be coined, because it is a society that created its permanent monuments (like Egyptians once did with the pyramids) by the enormous waste landfills or, worse still, with all kinds of waste that is scattered everywhere around.

It will be described as a civilization that cuts off the branch it sits on, as a civilization that has been unable to determine the price of renewable and non-renewable resources, that wasn'table to incorporate "cooperating with nature" into the way of life on this planet. It will be described as a civilization that carelessly spent and wasted.

Well, maybe we don't need to wait for these beings from other planets, but can describe ourselves in that way ourselves today. As I welcome the action "Clean Slovenia forever" (or in one day - as it will happen on April 17), I , of course, regret that such actions still need to happen. Unfortunately I cannot avoid the impression that even that "forever" won't last very long. When we "clean Slovenia", we will face large amounts of waste that will have to be taken care off and removed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.

If we can learn anything from actions that are undoubtfully useful and helpful in increasing the awareness of people, than the first thing we should learn is that waste needs to be first taken care of at its source -- by production technilogies; and also by providing the means of consumption to minimize waste. And further, that any product that accompanies us in life, is designed and manufactured in such a way, that it will have appropriate lifespan and that we will take into account already at design phase economical management of natural resources and their return to the natural cycle of matter.

Let this event and all further events that will follow contribute to the vision, which we simply have to call - from the society that dumps to the society that metabolises/assimilates. So we must go after the vision that learns from the complexity of nature, and not turning it into a big landfill of reckless civilizations.