ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE (ECE)

             Workshop on Encouraging Local Initiatives Towards
                    Sustainable Consumption Patterns

                       (2-4 February 1998, Vienna, Austria)


                  National review prepared by Ms. Doroteja Carni
                 Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning
                                 Ljubljana, Slovenia

                                  UNITED NATIONS
                                    Geneva, 1997
                      This document has been reproduced without editing.

GE.97 -

Slovenia has a population of about 2 million inhabitants and it covers an area of approximately 20.000
square kilometres. Most of the people live in densely populated urban clusters. The characteristic
settlement pattern consists of dispersed and small settlements (about 6000). The average density is 98
inhabitants per sq km while in different areas it varies between 9 per square kilometre (in the most
sparsely populated municipality) and 1000 per sq km in Ljubljana, the capital.

Slovenia is a very attractive country for tourists with many advantages. The first is its biodiversity and a
great variety of landscapes. The second is its towns with numerous sights and cultural heritage. The third
is the natural health resorts. Nature is however the most obvious attraction. Tourism is one of the strategic
fields of national development. The Slovenian nation preserved its cultural identity, natural and cultural
heritage with sustainable way of life.

The period until 1990 concerning environmet was generally characterized as follows:
In the late seventies when Slovenia formed a consistuent part of the former Yugoslavia, on the level of the
republic government, the first official administrative body was established. The more or less organized
care for the environment started. The first legal acts concerning the environment were adopted.The
development was politically strong determined. A sectoral approach was standard practice. The
participation of the public in the environmental decision making process was negligible. In the years 1986-
1987, the social order and legal regulations were the main obstacles for the introduction of more effective
mechanisms of the environmental protection. Increased awareness of the broad public, particularly of
non-governmental organizations, which were stronger from day to day, began to play a very important

After 1990 significant changes occurred in the field of environmental policy in comparison with the state
before.They were influenced by a number of factors, among which the most important was the attainment
of independence of Slovenia which resulted in radical changes in the legal and economical framework,
privatization, the modified role with regard to the competence of the state authority, etc.

In the period concerned the following elements of environmental policy were of key importance:
In 1993, the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) determining the general legislation framework in this
field, was adopted. This law ensures, enables, supports and obliges the state for sustainable
development. In the light of the requirements of the EPA the reorganization of the state authority
(administration) was carried out. The institutional integration in the field of environment, physical planning
and nature protection was made. After having attained its independence, Slovenia joined the European
integration processes and adjustment of the environmental legislation and regulations in order to reach
the standards of the European Union. Slovenia is fulfilling new international obligations which coincide
with the increasing internationalization of the environmental policy (including the Earth Summit in Rio and

The role of the new reorganized local authorities in the environmental politics is not so significant,
recognized or evaluated. The strengthening of the role as far as the environmental activities are
concerned has already started. The local authorities are obliged to make programmes concerning the
environmental protection and to care of the environment by the law. They also have the chance to take
part in the procedures (Environmental Protection Act, Act about public services). There are a few
municipalities with the Local Environmental Action Plan (LEAP).

The non-governmental organizations have become a significant power in the environmental policy. Since
1990 the number of the non-governmental organizations has rapidly increased (more than 110 in the year
1996). They prepared AGENDA 21 for Slovenia. They also play an active part in other environmental
promotional activities, also on the international level. Several of the non-governmental organization
projects have been financially supported by the Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning.

The preparation of the National Environmental Action Program (NEAP) is under way. Together with the
vulnerability study and some other instruments it will enable the environmental protection to become the
obligatory part of the sectoral policies and strategies managing the natural resources. This will improve
conditions in the environment and work itself. In NEAP, the consumers are one of the very important
target groups. The task of the Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning is to emphasize that
every individual is responsible for the environment. The actions taken by the individuals and their
behaviour can make a valuable contribution to sustainable development. A very important role in this
process is played by the environmental protection groups and non-governmental organizations. Together
with the above mentioned groups and organizations, the Ministry of the Environment and Physical
Planning would like to create awareness of this fact and to exercise influence on the public behaviour.
The NEAP is organized as a process where the most of activities are to be fulfilled on the local basis
within the framework of the likely uniformed LEAP and by stockholders. The role of the Ministry of the
Environment and Physical Planning and non-governmental organizations (NGO ) is more or less clarified.
After a relatively long animosity the possibility and need for common action on the local level has been
recognized. The programme for assisting the local communities by the LEAP will be prepared . The
identification of other partners (business) is also taking place. The assistance programme will be a
continuous action with permanent training etc.

Slovenia is becoming more and more aware of the fact that every individual has to make an effort to
improve the environment and to attain sustainable development. Therefore, consumers have to be
informed of the role which they play in the protection of the environment.


Tourism is one of the most important developing branches in Slovenia. One of the basic conditions for its
development is the quality of the environment. At the same time, the activity itself with its actions and
necessary infrastructure building, influences the changes of the environment components, especially
geosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere as well as the quality of living space. The qualitative natural
circumstances of the Slovene land, rich culture and cultural heritage as well as tradition make the
development of different forms of tourist activities possible.

In 1995, the government of the Republic of Slovenia passed a resolution on strategic goals in the field of
tourism in the Republic of Slovenia with a programme of activities and measures to be taken for its
implementation. The basic environmental protection goal of this document is to encourage soft tourism.
Besides the goals, also a programme is prepared encompassing those activities and measures which are
most appropriate for keeping the development in equilibrium and protecting those quality elements which
form the bases of existence and further development of tourism.

The tourists and tourist activities are not equally distributed in the area of Slovenia. Therefore the
environmental load in tourist centres has already reached the level which requires a planned intervention
in the improvement and protection of the environment. The seasonal tourism /coast, health resorts (spas)
mountain region and river valleys in the summer and some winter-sports centres in the winter/ contribute
to the saturation of some tourist areas and in this way, to the additional pollution of the environment. In
some places limiting measures have already been taken in order to reduce negative effects, caused by
the saturation.

The forms of soft tourism offer in particular, the possibilities for more human, more experienced and more
active holidays. At the same time they try to protect the natural environment and cultural identity of the
places where tourist activities take place.

Slovenia has two considerable advantages in the development of soft tourism:
• extraordinary natural beauties and cultural diversity
• relative ecological intactness


When studying the initiatives taken in Slovenia, it was established that a lot of actions that had taken
place, were prepared with the aim of informing and educating consumers. The following initiatives were
• Mountaineering
• Logarska dolina landscape management
                                                   Living with the countryside

The Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning also took part in promoting sustainable
development by means of public tender for co-financing the environmental projects for non-governmental
organizations. One of the subjects referring to these projects was changing consumption patterns. In this

regard several projects were co-financed (exhibitions, public lectures, lectures in schools, articles in local
and national newspapers). One of them was also:
Promotion of footpaths in the town of Novo mesto.

1. Mountaineering

The relationship between the working and leisure time has been considerably changed in the last hundred
years to the advantage of the leisure time. This stimulated the development of tourism which changed the
framework of exclusiveness for the chosen few. The tourism became accessible to wider masses. The
mass tourism reached its maximum in the mid nineteen fifties, whereas the winter tourism a decade later.
The next peak was reached in 1980 when the masses from the much polluted urban parts began to look
for a healthy and friendly environment, at least during their leisure time. Together with the increasing
masses, the unpleasant sides of the rapid development began to show, and thus in the natural as well as
in the social environment. Due to the immigration the traditional relationship to the cultural landscape
which up to that time enabled a fragile ecological equilibrium, ended. With the growth of tourist centres the
air, land and water pollution increased. At the same time more noise was made and tranquillity was
disturbed in the natural environment.

An important part of the tourist recreation is also mountaineering. In Slovenia, the mountaineering has
always been a traditional recreation. A dense net of marked and protected paths and well provided alpine
huts (cabins) enables wider masses to visit the mountains. To get an access to the distant mountains the
tourists can also use motor vehicles, for there are many roads leading high into the mountain valleys and
Visits en masse and excessive comfort and service in the alpine huts had soon a number of negative
effects on the environment in the mountains and below them. The paths which are unsuitably directed
(lead) and walks outside them endanger plants, animals, whereas the alpine huts pollute the air, land and
water. It is very dangerous to pollulte the mountain waters in particular which will be a very important
source of drinking water. The mountaineering is not the only recreation activity being performed in the
mountain region. There are more and more of the so called alternative activities: mountain biking,
skydiving, hang-gliding, rafting. When they are carried out en masse, this results in rough intervention in
the most peaceful and undisturbed (unencumbered) mountain spots. There are also a lot of attempts to
introduce _motor recreation“ (motor cross, snowmobile,..), however these are already prohibited or
strongly curtailed due to considerable environmental noxiousness. The concrete data on mass activities in
the Slovene mountains are still rather modest. There are around 90 thousand organized mountaineers,
members of the Alpine Association of Slovenia, or more than 4 percent of the entire population. But the
number of people doing mountain hiking periodically is multiplied several times. Above all, most of them
visit the mountains only in peak season, in summer, and they walk only up most popular mountains. Most
of the data on visits are available in the Triglav national park, covering a pretty large part of the mountain
region. The Alpine Association of Slovenia estimated about 2 million visitors, that is approximately 1000
tourists per 1 inhabitant. The visit analysis in the Dolina Triglavskih jezer (The Valley of Triglav lakes),
through which a very popular path leads to the Triglav which is the highest mountain in Slovenia, showed
that the number of visitors has increased by 3 to 4 times in the last thirty years. In 1992, it reached 35 000

The data try to make a general picture of the increasing number of visitors in our mountains at least. This
increase is also a result of limited possibilities of holidaymaking at the Adriatic sea, where most of the
holiday journeys of SLovenes were directed prior to the Balkan war.

When searching for the appropriate solutions, the most important strategy in the long run is education and
information. In order to resist the negative effects, one should be acquainted with them and be aware of
them. That´s why the Alpine Association of Slovenia made a decision to expand the information
concerning the environment by taking a special initiative. In order to reach as many mountain visitors as
possible with the information about environmental issues, a series of six brochures on nature protection
was issued in 1995. These brochures with their popular wording and caricatures represent the main
recreation activities in the mountains, their impact on the environment and proposals for solving the
problems in this connection. Possible measures to be taken are introduced, with the help of which the
mountain visitors can fully (actively) participate in solving the problems in connection with the
environmental protection and nature conservation in the mountains. The brochures were available in
wooden stands free of charge and were placed at the visitors´ disposal in 50 alpine huts in the Slovene
mountains. This initiative was financially supported by the Regional European Centre with its
headquarters in Ljubljana and the Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning.
The number of copies issued was 10.000. By preparing popular wording and funny caricatures a more
responsible relation to the environment was encouraged. Contacts were taken up with the Alpine groups
throughout Slovenia and with the keepers of mountain huts. The brochures published were the following:

•   Mountaineering, transport and environmental protection
•   Mountain biking, mountaineering and nature conservation /rules of behaviour/
                                                •Climbing and nature conservation /nature conservation
                                                manners of climbers/
                                                •Mountaineering footpaths and nature conservation
                                                •Off-piste skiing and nature conservation
                                                •Alpine huts and environmental protection

Owing to favourable response found with this initiative, the Alpine Association of Slovenia made the
reprint of these brochures. The initiative was extended to all 180 alpine huts with 50.000 copies in 1996.
The work was funded by the Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning and some sponsors. In
the future, it is planned that the topics will be amended and also presented in brochures.

The Alpine Association of Slovenia takes a very active part in the field of heightening the mountain
visitors´awareness. The consequence of the increasing number of mountain visitors was the mountain
huts becoming inappropriate in view of the environmental protection. Already in 1991 this crucial problem
was pointed to. The exaggerated comfort and service in the alpine huts led to a number of negative
effects on the environment in the mountains and below them. The alpine huts can be rough visual
disturbance in the land if they are inappropriately designed. Other environmental protection problems
refer particularly to the use of energy and accordingly to the air, land and water pollution, water
consumption and waste water production as well as to the piling of hard waste and to the sound stress to
a smaller extent. The rehabilitation of mountain huts is an extensive task where also the state has to be
involved. In the following year the Alpine Association of Slovenia will have to be financially supported not
only by the state but also by the international community. However, the mountaineers do not wait for the
realization of this project. They work hard on informing the mountain visitors with the problems occurring
and on changing the patterns of visitors´ behaviour as well as the patterns of the alpine hut keepers´
behaviour. The attention is drawn also to the tasks which have to be considered by the mountaineers
when staying overnight in a hut. They have to observe the following :
• having less comfort and saving energy and water
• avoiding too much packaging material
  bringing their own waste material down to the valley
                                                    being provided with their own sleeping bag or buying
                                                   one in the hut
                                                    smoking is prohibited.

These appeals in a form of advertising material are found in all alpine huts. The task of all the visitors is to
change their views of alpine huts as soon as possible. The same life which we are accustomed to down in
the valley is not to be led in the mountains. Comfort is to be forgotten in the alpine huts. The alpine huts
have to be shelters which will enable the mountaineer to survive under unfavourable conditions of the
night or bad weather as well as to meet his basic needs. When modesty in the alpine huts prevails again,
they will be visited only by those mountaineers who agree on such modesty and who are aware of
refusing comfort and luxury in favour of the nature. This is also one of the way how to reduce the
increasing pressure of visitors on the mountains.

A great problem which also has to be solved refers to transport. A dense network of forest and field tracks
leading high in the mountains, not seldom up to the alpine huts, has to be excluded from the public use.
However, it is not easy to close the roads. The closure itself is not the solution. Alternatives, more
attractive possibilities, have to be offered. Such solutions that encourage visitors to leave their vehicles at
the entrance to the valley and take an attractive educational, ethnological and natural footpath were
offered to the visitors in the following initiative.

2. The Logarska Dolina landscape park

Logarska Dolina is one of the most beautiful alpine valleys and was designated a landscape park in 1987.
The inhabitants hoped that this would reduce the uncontrolled mass pressure of tourists, but the situation
in terms of environmental protection did not change for the better since the decree on the designation of
the landscape park issued by the municipality did not guarantee any funds for organising the most urgent
infrastructural work and a supervision service. Logarska Dolina has been a popular summer tourist area
for decades now, especially for day trippers. At the end of the eighties, this form of tourism was having a
very negative impact on the environment, above all because of the number of motor vehicles. Parking,
camping and picnics in the countryside threatened farming and forest areas; accommodation facilities at
this time were very poor and all the more important tourist facilities in the valley belonged to people who
did not live there and had problems maintaining the existing state, without even thinking about
development. The existing municipality had plans for development that included building tourist facilities at
new locations, but no thought was given to the desires of residents. All this had an impact on the decision
of the latter to establish a company to manage the landscape park, take care of its sustainable
development and stop the development of destructive tourism.

The protected area covers 2,730 hectares of land with a population of 30 people. At the core of the
settlement there are 3 farms and a tourist facility. The farmers work in forestry and farming, while tourism
is a supplementary activity. The kind of tourism which, with respect to the possibilities of development, is
best suited to the environment, reached its lowest point in the eighties, this being most clearly seen in the
fact that there were no tourist facilities geared for longer visits, and in the environment being destroyed by
day trippers.

The dissatisfaction with such a state was what prompted the foundation of the Logarska Dolina company
in 1992. There are 16 shareholders: ten residents and 6 companies that own tourist and mountain
facilities in the area. The invested assets and the decision-making votes are shared equally between all
the members, this avoiding the financial domination of the larger tourist companies, whose interests are
very different than those of the people living there. With this a kind of balance was established. That same
year the municipality awarded a concession to the Logarska Dolina company for the management of the
landscape park and the execution of the decrees that refer to it.

Since its foundation the company has devoted most of its attention to the preservation and organisation of
the landscape park (for which purpose it was established). Tourism, as the most promising branch of
development, needs to be given special attention, above all because of the real dangers which its rapid
and uncoordinated development could represent to an environment with such a rich natural and cultural
heritage. The members have also made a plan for sustainable commercial development, according to
which they will exploit the long-term advantages of nature conservation, and avoid mass tourism, linking it
to forestry and farming, since it is these two branches that have given the park and its people their identity
through the centuries.

The main financial resources are the funds collected through contributions for the conservation of the
park. When entering the valley in the tourist season, tourists’ cars, vans and buses make such
contributions. This is intended to encourage visitors to come to the park on foot, by bicycle or using
regular public transport. The conservation funds that are collected at the entrance to the landscape park
are in accordance with the concession contract and are strictly allocated. Such funds can only be used for
the supervision service, the organisation of the municipal and tourist infrastructure, development projects
for protecting and ordering the status of the landscape park, repairing damage and the conservation of
the natural and cultural heritage. Other financial resources come from sponsors, the sale and
manufacture of tourist items, company members, the services of tourist facilities and national tenders.

The main areas of company operations are:
- the management of the landscape park
- development and planning
- tourist activities.

The company works with various institutes: The Regional Institute for the Protection of Natural and
Cultural Heritage, The Slovenian Forestry Institute, Triglav National Park and various organisations

The sustainable management of the park began in 1992. A lot has been done in this period, above all in
the field of conservation and the design of the landscape park. The company has arranged parking areas,
an entrance zone to the valley, camping and picnic sites, mountaineering camps, an information centre,
an integral system of signposts, rural fences and benches.

Activities directed towards changing the habits of tourists begin at the very entrance of the valley: tourists
either park their cars before coming into the valley and in this way avoid paying a contribution or leave
their cars at the parking place at the very entrance. The attractively arranged nature study trail which
begins at the beginning of the valley encourages many tourists to leave their cars there and go on by foot
to the waterfall at the end of the valley. The walk is seven kilometres long, most of this through forest.
This is not just an ordinary footpath but an educational ethnological/natural science path. It runs in such
as way that it allows walkers access to the mountains without using the roads. This educational path runs
past the most interesting points, where visitors can assimilate many things about the creation of the
valley, its sites of natural interest, the forest, the wildlife, the birds and the life of the inhabitants through
the centuries. The path runs past hidden corners of preserved wilderness: past a spring, a giant juniper
bush, a foresters’ hut, a hunting lair, a charcoal makers’ hut, where the inhabitants still make charcoal
once in a while, up to the Rinke waterfall.

The path is equipped with signposts with written information about particular locations. At the entrance
visitors receive a brochure which gives the do’s and don’ts of the park. The purpose of this brochure is to
change the non-sustainability orientated attitude of the visitors and to educate a new generation of visitors
to become aware that life in harmony with nature is the right way forward. There are two supervisors who
are employed full-time and who ensure that the landscape park’s code of conduct is followed. The
development is gradually going in the direction of making people aware that they themselves as
individuals can contribute a lot to decreasing pollution and, by changing their behaviour, contribute to
sustainable development. Tourists are notified that they are guests in the park, that they are entering
pastures and forests that are the property of the local inhabitants, and that it is this modest land that
supports them. Every niche is also a home for an animal or for a plant, who need their space and their
peace, even though you might not see them. Visitors are also warned that they must be aware that we are
all equal in nature, that all living things have the right to an existence. Excursions on foot and by bicycle,
mainly with hired bicycles, are encouraged, and there is also a recreational trail arranged for cyclists.

The development of tourist facilities did not move towards increasing capacity but towards the adaptation
of the those already existing. Development in the region of the park is promoted only through “green”
recreation: mountain tours, alpine hikes, mountain biking over paths reserved the purpose, riding, photo-
hunting, ski touring, cross-country skiing, and so on. Sports grounds do not come into consideration at all
because of the damage they would cause to the environment. A purification plant was built last year for
the waste water coming from the main tourist facilities, and a system for the collection and removal of
waste has also been organised.

Through all this, another three full-time jobs have been created, for an accountant and two supervisors.
During the tourist season a number of seasonal workers (students) are also employed to help out with the
collection of contributions, directing traffic, etc.

Since the time of the foundation of the Logarska Dolina company, some municipal decrees that refer to
the landscape park and the activities in it and which are the bases for the operation of the supervision
service have been amended. A municipal decree also regulates the collection of contributions for the
park. A strategy for the tourist development of Logarska Dolina has been harmonised and accepted, and
a plan for designing the area where the main tourist facilities are located has also been compiled and

Logarska Dolina, with its few farms, each covering about 100 hectares of land, is a unique intertwining of
people living and working in harmony with nature. It has proudly opposed all attempts to develop mass
tourism. It is simply the beauty of the landscape and the work of human hands that have contributed to its
being proclaimed a landscape park. The beauty of the landscape is not only seen in the variety of natural
forms - it is evident that man, through his style of life and work, has also made his contribution. The
farmers have preserved their old traditional culture in domestic crafts, cuisine, song and costume; it was
the local inhabitants who became aware of the danger of mass tourism. During the very foundation of the
company they decided that the farms were to be preserved in all their dimensions and that no new
buildings were to be erected. They saw that the devastation left behind tourists lacking awareness meant
the fall of a tradition which has been preserved for years and years. They fought and won the battle for the
continuous development of farming and forestry, which represents a traditional activity and which gives an
identity to the region and the people, while tourism represents a supplementary activity. The inhabitants
care a lot for the preservation of their identity and ensure that the tourist souvenirs are from this area and
made from traditional materials.

At the beginning of their operations their was discord between the members, above all between the
farmers and the tourist workers. The representatives of the tourist facilities wanted the emphasis on profit
and strived to increase capacities, while the local inhabitants opposed this with their responsibility to
nature. In time they slowly harmonised their views, the local inhabitants convincing the others with their
arguments. It was only an early stages discord - today they jointly manage the policies for the
conservation of the cultural landscape and nature.

Up to 2000 they plan to decrease the volume of traffic. The main purpose of this is to encourage as many
visitors as possible to leave their cars at the parking area before the entrance to the park and thereby
reduce the pressure of the volume of traffic in the park. They also plan to organise more “green modes of
transport”, such as tourist trains, bicycles and horses, with which it will be possible to enter the park.

3. Live with the Countryside

“Live with the Countryside” is a campaign promoted by the Kmeèki Glas newspaper company. The
intention is to contribute to the education of people in the countryside, to tell them how important it is to
preserve their tradition and to live in harmony with nature. The campaign, in which they select the most
beautiful and best designed farm, has been running each year for ten years now. The farms are graded

1. the quality of the architecture and the materials used
2. the landscaping of the farm and the surroundings with flowers and vegetation
3. the corporate image of the farm, above all from the nature conservation aspect (waste water, waste
and rational consumption of energy resources).

In these ten years more than 450 farms have been graded throughout Slovenia. In the first years the
campaign was called “Live with Flowers”, it then expanded in context and received the name it has today.
Consultants for farming families and for the development of the supplementary activities of the consulting
service help in the selection and give advice. They have also established co-operation with experts from
the Faculty of Architecture and the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning. To the satisfaction of
all, especially the Kmeèki Glas weekly, which broke the ice in this area, progress in the landscaping of the
countryside and the farms is noticeable. The main purpose of the initiative is to increase the awareness of
the farming community, since no special education exists. They want to gradually change the consumer
attitude in the countryside that old is bad. With this campaign they showed the farmers that old, renovated
local farms with preserved details typical for the area have a value which is very much worth preserving.
The materials used should also be traditional; the entire outlook of the farm must be in harmony with the
landscape and nature. Great emphasis is also placed on ensuring that the farmers become aware that it
is the native vegetation which has to be preserved. Today the trend is that many exotic types of plants are
grown that have no place in our environment. Through this campaign farmers have the opportunity to
become acquainted with the fact that the preservation of the cultural heritage of our predecessors is the
right path to sustainable development.

This year the panel, composed of 2 architects, an agronomist and a landscape architect, evaluated 52
farms. The campaign was funded by the newspaper, with the sponsorship of the BRAMAC company,
which also provided the prize: roof tiles, delivery and consultancy. The opinion of the panel was that the
award was to be given to a high mountain farm where, because of the natural surroundings, the work and
the life linked to it are more demanding than in settlements in valleys, where they have preserved the
traditional characteristics in their maintenance works, albeit with faults, and where now they will be able to
correct all the construction imperfections with the advice of experts. The new BRAMAC roof tiles will be
useful in their further renovations - the existing roof covering is worn and ecologically unacceptable, being
covered with corrugated cement slabs.

The damaged and heavily polluted environment is the main reason for affirming new processes based on
health protection and the improvement of the already damaged natural and cultural countryside. The
thinking and relation of people to traditional building is slowly changing. Campaigns such as this also
contribute to the sustainable methods of building and renovating houses. We are increasingly taking an
example from the past, as traditional construction work outside towns has been developed in harmony
with natural resources through the centuries. Today building is no longer friendly to the environment, but
wasteful, since it does not consider natural resources and it is not adapted to man, his means and his
work. That is why people have to be made aware of the meaning of quality of life and environmental
Once they built houses that were adapted to the formation of the land, with natural materials that were
close by, and so avoided the need for transport and the vagaries of the weather. Besides the natural
resources, the needs of man also had an influence on the quality design of buildings. Buildings are
designed for living in (needing a well thought out layout for their owners’ activities) and to measure. Man
determined the size, proportions and quantities of his homes. We can already conclude, with a quick
inspection of the proven characteristics of traditional construction work, that the buildings constructed in
our environment outside towns were healthy and conserved energy. And both are basic aspects of
achieving quality living and environmental protection.

After the Second World War construction work, because of the rapid technological development, rejected
all the know-how and experience that had been discovered in individual regions through the centuries.
The farmer, who had been the leader of development in settlements outside towns, began to lose his
validity. The attitude of politics to the farmer and farm work also contributed to this, and farming remains
at the bottom of the scale of attractive activities and vocations. Agricultural cultivation is being rejected en
masse, auxiliary farm buildings are disappearing, and the building tradition is being replaced with modern
construction works, built by village or town folk employed in the towns. Houses are now being built
according to the example of town houses and do not reflect the experience of civil engineering, which in
the past was adapted to the natural surroundings and farming. The living quarters in the new houses are
no longer linked to the exterior environment - on the ground floor there are garages, boiler rooms and
other auxiliary areas. The new dwellings are too big, a single house contains at least two complete
residential units (for children who happen to remain at home). Due to the bad location of the buildings,
they are frequently unsuitable for the local climate: cold in the winter and hot in the summer. The know-
how and experience of the construction of buildings in harmony with nature (above all with respect to
interior layout, the direction the house is facing and the processing of materials) which our predecessors
passed on from generation to generation has been forgotten.

All these facts clarify the connection between environmental protection and the preservation of building
heritage and also partly clarify the core of the “Live with the Countryside” campaign. Each year this
campaign contributes more and more to changing people’s attitudes. People are becoming aware that
new and big is not always the most beautiful or of the best quality. People have become aware that there
is a value in preserving traditional houses and materials, that life in harmony with nature is real quality.

Throughout the world architects, together with contractors and investors, are now, above all when
designing settlements out of towns and in planning their architectural development, already considering
the discovered conservationist values in the existing identical construction engineering founded on the
laws of nature, and act according to ecological principles. They are once again introducing natural
materials and construction technologies such as wooden constructions and clay blocks with lime and
gypsum, and traditional experience is being improved with modern discoveries. Unfortunately, we in
Slovenia have made the above mentioned moves, so learning about and discovering the quality of our
civil engineering is all the more important.

This campaign has had quite an impact throughout Slovenia, a lot was spoken about it, a lot was thought
about it, and people tried to act in such a way that their activities were in harmony with nature and the
environment. But the work does not stop here - this is just the beginning. Raising the level of awareness in
the countryside and stressing the advantages of traditional life will lead to changes in the thinking and
attitudes of country people.

4. Promotion of walking in the town of Novo mesto

In the consumption society, thought patterns, produced by advertising agencies through promotion
campaigns for a certain product, prevail. In the mass media, the most frequent advertisements are those
advertising cars which try to convince the consumers how “safe“ a car can be, how mobile, sporty and
youthful they can feel,. in short, how all the problems concerning the communication can be solved if we
sit down in the car and drive away. Also the manners of people and the image of towns change
correspondigly. For example, to each public building belongs a parking place with cars taking also many a
green plot, pavement. They are also found there where it is expected that the traffic would be diverted like
at schools, kindergartens, hospitals.

The action concerned took place in the town of Novo mesto in the period from May to October 1996. A
group of local people recognized that it was high time they resisted the fetish of car, a symbol of social
status of an individual and set walking as the dominating way of movement in the town. This may refer to
the majority of Slovenian small towns like Novo mesto as well. The area of the town is expressed in a
walk. It is half an hour big in all the directions leading from the town centre. By promoting this new way of
movement the new and already forgotten side of the life of people in the town was reopened again:
footway and promenade development, traffic limitation, stronger need for taking care of town parks,
suburban woods and green areas.

Conservation and protection of the environment does not include only the production of goods with the
reduced amount of energy possible, recycling as much waste as possible, but also abstinence from
sometimes lavish way of living, at least to some degree. For the “motorized“ man nowadays, his first
decisive step to break consciously his habitual consumer pattern and to give his life some other quality is
to step out of his expensive vehicle and set out to walk.

Since January 1996 a study course “Footpaths in Novo mesto“ has already taken place. Its task was to
study the possible footpath directions in Novo mesto and its surroundings and to encourage the interest of
people for the redevelopment and construction of footpaths. The promotion consisted of issuing a
brochure where the idea of footpaths was introduced. The brochure was provided with maps and an
appropriate text informing people of the usefulness of walking. The companies, local authorities and
schools were called to support the idea of redevelopment of footpaths. They were participating not only
physically but also with an educational effect. The action was followed by advertisement campaigns on
the radio and local television, in the newspaper, on big advertisement boards at traffic roads, posters and
leaflets for all the groups of people: elementary and secondary school children, drivers, pedestrians, in a
word, all the citizens of Novo mesto. In addition to this, the advertisement campaign was supported by a
round-table discussion and by radio discussions on the same topic.

To complete the action, a recreational march of the citizens of Novo mesto was planned along the one of
the paths, described in the brochure. The march should become traditional. However, there were not
enough financial funds to realize this concluding part.

The promotion was financially supported by the municipality of Novo mesto and the Ministry of the
Environment and Physical Planning.

This promotion aroused interest in footpaths, their arrangement, conservation of old footways which had
been used by several generations. Unfortunately, on these paths buildings are being built and they are
divided by roads and fences. With the help of this promotion the town planners are also encouraged,
especially when redeveloping traffic roads and residential areas, to think about the footpaths, above all
where they already exist and where they should be of priority, for example, around schools. The final goal
of this walk promotion is to change the habits of citizens, so that more and more of them decide upon
going on foot to their work.

The organizers of this promotion wish that the commenced work could continue and reach that point that
the town centre could be closed for traffic with motor vehicles. However, to implement this project a
permanent campaign calling attention to these issues has to be required. There are similar campaigns
also in other Slovenian towns, unfortunately with no wider responses. Such solutions would also
contribute to the urban tourism which is being developed more and more. The trend in the tourism
development is to increase demand for the genuine and natural which does not only mean to search for
green nature, woods and individual attractions but for the environment as a whole, where also urban
environment cultivating its cultural richness and quality of life, belongs to.


A large change in the consumption pattern will contribute to the sustainable development that has also
been recognized as a task of NEAP/LEAP. In order to achieve this objective many small steps have to be
taken and guided in the direction of more sustainable way of life. An important role in this process is
played by the public:
• as an individual who takes care of the quality of the environment, of personal health and the quality of
    life for the next generations
• as a producer of pollution and waste at home and as an employee at his place of work

•   as a consumer of goods and services where there is often a possibility of choice.

Before such an important role has been played by an individual, several conditions have to be fulfilled.
One of the most important ones is to be well informed and to be aware of the seriousness of the issues.
The promotion campaigns are very important to attract the consumers´attention and to influence their
relationship to the environment in which they live.

An important aim of politics in tourism is to ensure the optimal meeting of various tourist needs of all the
people within the framework of the existing tourist buildings and within the healty environment taking into
consideration the interests of local inhabitants. Special attention should be paid to the appropriately
designed land-use planning. The building areas have to be limited and good agricultural lands protected.
The areas of protection and conservation of ecological equilibrium have to be agreed upon. The building
of holiday homes has to be stopped, whereas the new infrastructure - especially in the traffic area - has to
be adjusted to the existing capacities. The renewal of existing installations and buildings as well as
sustainable development have to be advocated.


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