Profit cannot be more important than human lives, but also nature, because human lives depend on natural values and goods, which are currently stolen and robbed in our country precisely for the sake of profit, emphasized Majda Ibraković, coordinator of the Eco BiH Network, with which we discussed during the “Third Working Gathering of the Platform for Ecofeminist Action in Bosnia and Herzegovina EKOFEM BiH”, held in October in Banja Luka.
Among other things, Majda pointed out the importance of switching to renewable energy sources, but also the fairness that must happen in the energy system.
What kind of change must our energy system undergo and what is crucial when it comes to the green transition?
MAJDA: The energy system and its transformation from dirty sources such as coal to clean sources should be equitable, inclusive and such that is inclusive for both women and men and marginalized groups. Ultimately, we are all consumers of electricity. What worries us a little in our struggles is that we are once again experiencing a transition that will favor certain groups and privileged corporations. Now is a unique opportunity to involve the citizens of our country, especially movements, local communities and organizations, because we have finally received legal legislation, specifically the laws on renewable energy sources in both entities, so we can directly, legally and legitimately become citizens buyers and producers of electricity from renewable sources. What does that mean in practice? Every citizen can now independently produce their own energy, control their production and consumption, without major administrative and legal obstacles. I think that only when citizens produce energy from their own systems and for their own needs will there be a change in awareness about our energy and there will definitely be an increase in energy efficiency in our homes, because as much as we produce, we also consume. We will really look at every kilowatt-hour in our homes. And the prices will affect the change in awareness about energy and its transfer into the hands of citizens. It is certain that electricity will become more expensive and I believe that this will be enough of an incentive for people to really start thinking about the change. Let’s hope that by then, in accordance with the passing of laws and by-laws, enough funds will be transferred directly to local communities to co-finance the project and that people will have an incentive to install, for example, solar panels and later have free energy. They will decide for themselves in which way and how they will spend such energy.
Are citizens sufficiently informed about these laws? It seems that many people are still in doubt as to what kind of subsidies they can get, whether households can drink prosumers (customer-producer of energy), how much exactly is the installation of solar panels worth to them…?
MAJDA: Precisely in the articles of the laws that I mentioned, there is authority and responsibility, in this case of the entity ministries, which must have a specific department or body, which will provide information not only about these laws, but also about implementation methods, types of support, clarifications about who can become a procumer or part of the community of renewable sources… Our institutions must organize a public campaign, in which we as organizations, movements, citizens will help to spread information. I understand our citizens who are faced with many questions, however, we should not just wait for our authorities to launch a public campaign, but get information in our local communities, follow what activists, movements and organizations are doing, because they will also conduct information and education campaigns on this topic. And the EKO BiH Network will have such trainings, primarily for environmental organizations. Citizens should keep their “eyes wide open” because there will be calls for subsidies in the coming period.
What is the perspective of ecofeminism and the EKOFEM BiH platform?
MAJDA: This platform brought me some new knowledge and links between feminism, speciesism and the injustice of the patriarchal approach, which has trapped us all, regardless of gender, in a system dictated by profit. EKOFEM BiH provides new experiences and knowledge, as well as literature, which organizations, and those that are not part of the platform, can freely use. There is also a website with available materials. We have to talk about these topics, but I would not like there to be a dualism, more precisely the separation of feminists from others, or eco-activists from others, but to show an example of solidarity and support, which will unite several movements in our country as well as globally.
Interviewed by: Vesna Iliktarević
Photo 1: Submitted photo/Majda Ibraković
Photo 2: Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly/EKOFEM conference