Slovenia is a country with a high diversity of natural environment gathered in a small area.
Slovenia is a small European nation wedged between Italy, Hungary and Croatia. It covers a little more than 20,000 square kilometers and has a population of just over 2 million. Yet this tiny nation is a veritable giant when it comes to environmentalism.
According to the Legatum Institute, a London-based public policy think tank, scenic little Slovenia is a world-leader in using natural resources responsibly for the benefit of both locals and their environment. In its annual Prosperity Index in 2016, Slovenia came first among 149 countries surveyed when it comes to consideration of a large set of variables, including government efforts to preserve biodiversity, to reduce pollution, and to manage natural resources sustainably. Last year the tiny nation came second, behind Norway and ahead of Finland.
A cleaner and richer natural environment improves people’s general well-being and quality of life. In Slovenia there are ongoing efforts to protect as much of the country’s picturesque and biodiverse environment as possible. Over the past decade the small European nation, whose forests boast wolves, bears, deer, and foxes aplenty, has set aside large swathes of its land and water as protected areas.
“Slovenia is a country with a high diversity of natural environment gathered in a small area,” said the Slovenian ministry of the environment. “Preserved nature is our core national treasure and our identity.” These are more than just mere words. The country’s nationwide Slovenia Green project has declared 17 destinations to be certifiably green – no small feat in such a tiny country – according to their use of green energy, effective wastewater treatment and other environmentally friendly practices.
Thanks to this progressive attitude, which commendably predicates national well-being on the health of the country’s natural environment, the small nation has turned itself into a popular ecotourism destination, a place that National Geographic has recently dubbed a “tree-hugger heaven.”
“Slovenia’s idea of “green,” by contrast, means you get more, not less,” the magazine explains. “A national program called Slovenia Green has now certified 17 destinations, with more in the pipeline. For such a small country, that’s a lot,” it adds.
“The certification process employs the usual environmental metrics — green energy use, wastewater treatment, and so on — but the Slovenes have added requirements for character of place, including cultural heritage, nature, and gastronomy. Each destination must show that it is taking care of all the things that make it special — a bulwark against the tide of globalization that overwhelms so many destinations.”