chapter  10
18 Pages

Ecology in Slovenia

The ecological movement in Slovenia has a thirty-year history. At the beginning there was a group of intellectuals-university professorswho around 1960 realized the importance of environmental protection. They founded the first associations and also the Union of Associations for Environmental Protection in Slovenia. They were the early birds during the period of "real-existing socialism." Public opinion and the mass media were mobilized around ecological questions, according to their relative importance. Certain large-scale building plans and development projects led to public debate. Many of the groups' efforts were unsuccessful, especially when they tried to prevent the destruction of prime agricultural land or the construction of polluting industrial plants. Their greatest failure was when they tried to prevent the environmentally damaging and energy-wasteful construction of steel and iron works or aluminum plants. At the same time, the environmental groups were able to register some significant successes. These in-

eluded preventing the construction of hydroelectric power stations in the Sota basin in the Alps, halting the damming of the seasonally flowing Cerknica lake, an extraordinary natural phenomenon of the Slovene Karst, and finally, drafting a resolution for a moratorium on nuclear power plant construction that passed in the old Slovene Assembly. Other public demands for environmental protection also penetrated the bureaucratic halls of the old Assembly. One of the most important achievements was a moratorium on water management improvement projects, such as those that would drain swamps and low areas next to rivers and streams, straighten the bends of rivers, and tum the river beds into mountain torrents.