Viewing the world through the lens of satisfying human needs and benefits has led to the instrumentalisation of nature. Despite the urgent environmental problems facing us, and the creation of constructive political agendas to combat them, this way of looking at the world continues to generate development that is not inclusive.
The development of heritage is an important part of European policy, and encompasses all three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, social and economic.
The development and conservation of heritage is an important challenge to the way we identify and evaluate environmental potential. Heritage, natural and cultural alike, reveals to us the identity of the landscape, and provides a wealth of knowledge for learning and innovating, as well as a basis for developing green tourism.
It means the challenge of raising the local populationâ€™s awareness of the need to recognise the potentials of the environment and to become actively involved in local development (the â€˜bottom upâ€™ principle), project, with promoting changes to policy (â€˜top downâ€™ principle) as shown by the example of the â€˜Heart of Sloveniaâ€™ region.
Our relationship to natural heritage is usually based on a division between living and non-living nature. However, modern science is engaged in shifting the boundary of what constitutes â€˜livingâ€™ nature. The quantum physics of the 20th century recognised the effect of consciousness on the sub-atomic level of material reality. A syntropic perception of the world does not establish a sharp boundary between the living and non-living world. It allows the possibility that ostensibly â€˜deadâ€™ matter has the ability to organise itself and to develop complex forms that show some of the basic characteristics of living organisms. (Detela, 2014)
Every place is marked by the natural and cultural heritage typical of it. This encompasses material and non-material heritage and stretches from mythological tradition to useful objects and typical architecture.
The heritage of Europe and of Slovenia is rich with traditional models of living (the planning of Etruscan cities, for example). These models were organised in an environmentally sustainable way and with an awareness of the burden that the environment can take if life is to be sustained.
In their planning, ancient cultures took account of the fact that physical space had a vital energy, a spirituality, thereby ensuring the flow of vital energy and the health of the landscape. This method of planning settlements was already in use in Europe in the Middle Ages
By examining the course taken by streets, and the siting of buildings and of churches as places of worship within the organism of the landscape, geomantic research into old city centres continually reveals to us the sophisticated knowledge that planners had regarding the subtle dimensions of landscape.
For the old European traditions, space was a living organism, full of vital energy. Just as man has a spirit, so space has a spiritual dimension too. The spirit of a place, the genius locus, was worshipped by the Romans. Roman houses had a special place dedicated to it in the form of an altar. In this and similar ways, old European cultures cultivated contact with the spiritual dimensions of space.