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Violeta Bulc:  The Fate of Our Civilisation Rests upon Our Ability to Ensure Adequate Energy Resources

Violeta Bulc: The Fate of Our Civilisation Rests upon Our Ability to Ensure Adequate Energy Resources

Date: February 24th 2021

Author: Alenka Lena Klopčič


Topic: Electricity , Renewables , Energy policy , New technologies , Economy ,

»Ecocivilisation is a movement that has no name, no leader, no coordinated actions. It is coming from within. More and more of us are feeling it, sensing it, acting upon our inner calling.” This is an excerpt from the website of Ecocivilisation, a movement curated by Violeta Bulc, former European Commissioner for Transport, now a prominent speaker spreading the message of how consciousness, society, land, and beings give rise to awareness, collaboration, treasures, and purpose. This, however, was merely the start of Energetika.NET’s latest video interview, in which Bulc moved seamlessly between developments on Earth and energy issues. Violeta Bulc is also one of the speakers at Energetika.NET’s forthcoming online event En.odmev 021, which will look into how the Slovenian energy industry is getting ready for a carbon-neutral future. Click here to watch the video interview, and here to register for En.odmev 021 (the event will be in Slovene).

On where we come from and where we are going

prew feb 9 orange“Looking back at the last 50,000 years, there have been many civilisations on planet Earth. So far, we have managed to identify 28. This raises the question of what will happen to our civilisation, knowing that each of those that came before had its rise, its heyday and its fall. What all the past civilisations have in common is that they were largely limited to single continents, many of them not even being aware of others’ existence, and this prevented clashes between them. Common reasons behind their collapse include climate change, pandemics, natural disasters, overwhelming complexities, the lack of adequate resources, authoritarian regimes, wars, disintegration from within. This makes me wonder if the situation today is any different, especially with all the technology at hand when we can access data on so many aspects of our lives in real time. I wonder if a better understanding of the situation can help us prevent the fall of our civilisation. Instead of seeing its collapse, can we help make a positive transition to a new civilisational paradigm?” said Violeta Bulc at the start of the interview. In her view, the next civilisation will emerge from global consciousness rather than a single continent.

According to Bulc, our society has the potential to develop a stronger collective consciousness that will allow every individual to live up to their full potential and contribute to human development to the best of their ability. It is only together, underlined Bulc, that we can bring about positive changes. Here, Bulc referred to the energy industry: in addition to people and resources, energy is one of the three key components that enable society to keep evolving. Therefore, Bulc encourages energy industry professionals to participate continually in conversations about our shared future.

The energy industry has been indispensable when it comes to development and maximising potentials before, and vice-versa: the lack of certain energy sources has led to the collapse of not only states, but entire civilisations, noted Bulc. This is why, in her view, energy industry professionals have to keep in mind that the fate of our civilisation largely rests upon our ability to ensure adequate energy resources, especially during the transition to a low-carbon society.

“I am because you are”

sodelovanje naslovna ilustracija“We have an interesting future ahead of us, if only we can manage it wisely,” said Bulc, referring to the diagram Ecocivilisation uses to illustrate its activity, which is organised around five key elements – land, beings, society, consciousness, and relationships.

When asked whether people are open to her message, Bulc said that any breakthrough idea takes time. Her personal goal is to develop the concept of ecocivilisation in the next 30 years. Generally speaking, young people are more interested in learning more about circular economy, potential new social structures, and topics such as Ecocivilisation’s organisational structure (land, beings, society, consciousness, and relationships). The Ecocivilisation movement searches for positive stories from around the globe, inspired by its African colleagues to seek guidance, among others, in the ancient philosophy of Ubuntu and its message: ‘I am because you are.’ The purpose of the movement is to awaken the knowledge accumulated in our genes, culture, and the memory that runs through generations, and bring out the wisdom that can be useful today.

First invitation: Build a respectful relationship with nature

The new coronavirus is now considered to be one of the greatest threats to humanity. Until its emergence, it had been – and still is today alongside the pandemic – climate change, several decades ago it was the ozone hole, while global political forces have never ceased to talk about the threat supposedly posed by some nations’ nuclear programmes... This is a long list of risks for humans – if they recognise them as such – but what should the focus be for people today, and why?

“First of all, we should keep in mind that we live on planet Earth, which is a living organism with its set of natural processes and laws of nature. When humans work against these laws, they come into conflict not only with nature, but also with themselves, for they are part of nature. This is why it is wise to embrace the laws of nature and learn to coexist with them rather than continually attempting to defy them. From the point of view of the Earth’s delicate ecosystem, which took billions of years to evolve, humans are now the aggressors that can disturb the balance and order of nature – but doing so, we undermine our own living conditions, knowing that humans are part of nature,” said Bulc in reply.
ekologijaIn the light of this, her first invitation to fellow humans is to build a respectful relationship with nature. The second is to finally realise and accept the fact that we are too strongly dependent on each other not to work together. According to Bulc, developing a collective consciousness is key to understanding that all of us living on this planet are one big family.

In addition to the pandemic, Bulc mentioned climate change as the cause of the demise of many civilisations – in a matter of years after centuries of existence. With their irresponsible behaviour, humans today have only accelerated climate change, not even fully realising all the aspects of natural processes we have affected. This is why, continued Bulc, it is fundamental to “bring elements of responsibility into the equation”, both in innovation and investment. As a large polluter, the energy industry has a hugely important role in this respect, she emphasised. That said, we should not let all this shake the confidence with which we approach life, “we merely have to accept this new awareness and start acting accordingly”, she added.

Two rules: Transparency and doing what is right

Where should the line be drawn when it comes to encouraging technological progress, so that progress would not be the end of humanity as we know it today, when humans still have their own selves and consciousness, and are not yet fully submerged in the digital world? According to Bulc, nature is constantly creating something new, staying dynamic, and humans, as part of nature, are evolving alongside it, functioning at various levels, taking in various vibrations and using them to establish relationships.

“Many people today are confused to see all this damaging discourse and degrading rhetoric being used publicly. The two lead to decadence, and as we know from history, decadence leads to collapse. The question is, are we mature enough to purposefully reverse this course. Honesty can be very helpful in this challenge.”

mladi naslovnaBulc is delighted by the fact that new global communities, which emerged thanks to digital technologies, using sustainability and circular economy concepts, observe two rules. Rule number one: everything has to be readily seen in the value grid, i.e., transparency in terms of revenue and expenditure as well as in creating networks as a basis of trust and cooperation. Rule number two: everyone does what they feel is right. This rule has to do with quantum physics: at quantum level, the system always knows what is right and what is wrong, explained Bulc, bringing up once more the energy industry as an example of a domain where one mostly deals with substances that cannot be touched, seen, or tasted, they can only be imagined. This is another reason why energy industry professionals are needed to participate actively in building a society where the most important things are invisible to the eye.

“Time to say goodbye to -isms

Talking to Violeta Bulc, we referred to Energetika.NET’s second video interview with Yanis Varoufakis, a world-renowned economist, who in 2015 also spent a few (economically and politically very hot) months as Greece's Minister of Finance (MORE). In the interview, the bestselling author whose recent book Another Now deals with a possible alternative reality, said: “I would like to imagine a world in which democracy is not something that we just like to talk about but also something that we practice within our economic sphere.”

letimo ilustracija možjeWhen asked about her own preferences for the shared future, the former European Commissioner is very clear about one thing: it is time to say goodbye to all the -isms. We are confident enough to dare imagine a new concept of a future free of the old concepts that can only create negative impacts and trouble. Therefore, Bulc argues for reflection and development of a new basic thought, which should necessarily look 30 to 50 years into the future.

Bulc agrees with Varoufakis in that one should go back to the roots, mentioning that ‘oikos’ is an ancient Greek word meaning home or family, while ‘nomos’ means management and distribution. Together, they make up the word ‘economy’, which the ancient Greeks defined as the activity whose main purpose is to provide a good life or prosperity for the (family) community. According to Bulc, modern society has distanced itself from this understanding and, instead of looking after each other, we have started parasitising each other and assigning value to money, thereby valorising something that does not exist.

“With interest rates and empty services that eat into the real economy, we have started building a world where everything is based on chimeras, and this is a perfect environment where manipulation and dishonesty can thrive,” said Bulc, adding bluntly that we have reached the point where the system is starting to collapse. However, the former Commissioner is confident that we can still decide to make a peaceful transition to a new civilisational era.

On Slovenia’s strengths and weaknesses

svet“This is about a very specific story; circular economy is a specific story, one that can be implemented not only by restructuring resources, services, and products, but also by reinventing, just as resolutely and innovatively, the structures we function in,” emphasised Bulc, adding that cooperation will be vital in bringing about this change. Moreover, we have to realise that “life is an art” with many spontaneous opportunities, which we have to learn to respond to. Life is complex, unpredictable, spontaneous, unstructured, and the same can be said of any natural system. Humans find this very confusing, and it is high time to attune our education and training processes to these features.

Where does Slovenia’s untapped potential lie, and how could one begin to use it? According to Violeta Bulc, Slovenia boasts some amazing individuals, both in cities and in rural areas, in science, art as well as business, “but we lack the power to develop a collective consciousness and to appreciate the whole we have created together”. This trait, said Bulc, might originate in history. Nevertheless, it is time to overcome it and start focusing on what benefits our nation, i.e. reach a national consensus on the key strategic areas that will be part of our shared vision of Slovenia’s development regardless of the political parties that form the government.

In conclusion, Bulc briefly talked about how Slovenia’s energy industry could use its potential and contribute to the greening of the country. To find out more, you can listen to the former European Commissioner at this year’s online edition of En.odmev 021. The event will look into how the Slovenian energy industry is getting ready for a carbon-neutral future.

This article is available also in Slovene.

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