Žilvinas Šilėnas: no agreement is possible without mutual trust

The society does not lack environmental disputes. Active investment frequently faces a conflict of interest between investors, local communities and the authorities. Different ways of solving these issues were discussed in “Laisvoji Banga” radio show “Vektorius.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr Aistė Balžekienė of the Institute of Public Policy and Management of Kaunas University of Technology presented a research on Lithuanian’s involvement in environmental activities in comparison with other European countries. The research revealed that Lithuanians are passive compared to other European states, because a very small number of people belong to environmental organisations, sign petitions or participate in environmental protests. According to Dr Aistė Balžekienė, Lithuanians are more active in sorting rubbish, saving water and energy, but completely passive when it comes to the public sphere which requires deliberate actions, environmental organisations and petitions.

“What affects the public personally, concerns it the most”, agreed Rasa Alkauskaitė – Kokoškina, Head of the Environmental Unit of AF-Consult. According to her, people are mostly concerned with health, air and groundwater pollution, because they have to experience it personally. She noted that the public often lacks personal involvement and concern with the investor’s interests: “acting within the boundaries of the law is not enough to develop an effective dialogue with your future neighbour, it is important to go beyond the formalities.”

LFMI President Žilvinas Šilėnas added: “The prevailing distrust and disagreement in our culture hinder the agreement on environmental issues. Instead of developing a dialogue, we tend to complain and blame each other. No agreement can be reached without mutual trust, because how could you agree with someone you do not trust?”

A member of ICOMOS, an expert of cultural heritage Jūratė Markevičienė also noted that this distrust and cynicism towards the law comes from the Soviet era and is still reflected in the current legislation.

You may listen to the radio show in Lithuanian here.