What is your name, where are you from, and what do you do?
Boris Rantaša, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Forest Engineer and Communicator (LIFEGENMON Project Dissemination Manager).
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Easygoing, like to smile, love to work in, with and for forests.
What do you love the most about Slovenia?
That it is a small, safe and temperate country in the heart of Europe, covered 60 % with (mostly magnificent) forests.
What are you doing to make your country better?
Working with people to use forests in a sustainable way to better local lives and conserve the natural ecosystems. My job also allows me also to bring people and forests closer together.
Which are the ‘must see places’ in Slovenia?
Ljubljana, the capital city, has a very beautiful medieval city center. And then there are the mountains (Julian Alps) and many beautiful and deep forests (also old-growth). Lake Bled and Postojna cave are also very well-known tourist landmarks.
What is that people don’t know about Slovenia?
We are a very small nation with only 2 million people. Our capital Ljubljana holds 300.000 souls. People are usually stunned by the natural beauty of the country.
Tree hugger, Vegetarian or animal rights Activist?
None, maybe guilty of tree hugging sometimes.
How is your experience in Africa?
Loving every second – I am tweeting a lot about it at @borisrantasa and write posts on the LIFEGENMON blog (www.lifegenmon.si/category/blog).
What are the similarities between South Africa and Slovenia?
To be honest, there are not so many similarities. But both have extremely beautiful nature (I still have to discover more).
What is the recipe of the best Slovenian meal?
For me, it is grilled “jurčki” (Boletus edulis). Just pick them in the forest, clean them and grill them on a little bit of olive oil. Mmmm
What are the most common foods in your country?
Potatoes, all kinds of meat, cabbage, salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, pears, …
Who is the most famous Slovenian and why?
I guess it could be Jože Plečnik, a famous architect in Europe or Josef Ressel, who invented the ship propeller (he was a forester!). Our most famous poet is France Prešeren. A modern well known and controversial Slovenian is Walter Wolf, who used to own a Formula 1 team and a brand of ciggarets. Also the philosopher Slavoj Žižek is another well-achieving Slovenian.
What music is popular in your country?
All kinds of music – but mostly rock and country (Slovenian local music).
What Slovenian movie would you recommend the world to watch?
We don’t have many good ones but one that I like very much is Jebiga (Fuckit), which describes urban youth in Slovenia in a hilarious way.
What environmental issues are you most passionate about?
Forests and well-being of people in the relation to forests.
How is Slovenia affected by Climate Change?
We have many more extreme weather events than before (drought, sleet, …). There has been heavy damage to our forests in the last 2 years, but not critical yet.
How bad are environmental issues in Slovenia and are you as a country winning the war
Compared to the rest of the world, our environmental issues are not very serious yet.
What is the most common animal in Slovenia?
Probably chickens and cows, but the most remarkable is the Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos) population.
What is the situation with forests in your country?
We have over 60 % forest cover and it’s still growing due to inefficient land use. 80 % of our forests are privately owned
If you were the environmental Minister, what would you change?
Not much, but I would make systems more fair and transparent.