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Thoughts from Denmark
Editors Note: This article was written in 1991 after I returned from a trip to Denmark to visit the factory of one of our suppliers. This supplier produces high efficiency boilers (hot water heat) which can use multiple fuels - Wood, Oil, Gas, etc.
Clean Streams run directly by the plant
The quiet—thats the first thing that one notices in the western Jutland village of TARM, where a boiler works of the same name is located. Footpaths and bikepaths lead through a stand of trees to the factory..a small stream meanders by. Litter is non-existent, and the streets and homes look as if they were cleaned just for our visit. The Danes have done a remarkable job of integrating work and life into one experience. They have taken a common-sense, ecological approach to the problems of modern life, and are trying to balance the scales as much as possible. Why is this possible in Denmark, but so difficult in the US?. A little information will help us see the difference.
Footpaths and Bike Paths surround the Factory.
Upon landing in Denmark , I had to hop a short flight to the opposite side of the country. This flight took only 30 minutes, and , even from 20,000 feet, I could see from one side of the country to the other. So, the Danish People understand that their land is limited and if they mess it up too bad—where will the children live?. They also understand that pollution makes for a bad quality of life in the present, so they are actuallly being selfish when they demand a clean enviornment.
In contrast, we Americans feel our hair stand up on end when the price of gasoline goes up by 10 cents a gallon. As I write this update, Bob Dole is trying to win over the American hearths and minds by rolling back the gas tax by 4.3 cents ! We think it’s written in the constitution that we are entitled to cars getting 12 miles to the gallon. Many Americans have the attitude ” What the heck, everyone’s in it for themselves, I’ll get what I can, and the future will take care of itself”.
Windmills generating electricity along the coastal plain of Denmark
My feeling is that we Americans take far too much for granted. We are still under the illusion that our country and our resources are unlimited. This is a mistaken belief, and all one has to do is travel some of the populated corridors in the US (NY,NJ, S. Florida) to see that the land does end! We have a political party who currently is trying to divide the country down the lines of Economy VS Ecology. Supporters of a cleaner earth are thought of as “wierd” and belonging to some ecological groups can get you on the wrong side of the FBI or CIA!
This all reminds me of a discussion that I had with my Sales Manager. We were talking about the (high) price of these boilers, and he asked me “Are these guys at TARM making a killing on these things (boilers)?”. My answer was a little longwinded, it went like this” Dave, they are not getting rich on these boilers, but they are figuring the ENTIRE COST of making these boilers into the price. Unlike Mexico , and some other countries, they are not dumping the pollution from manufacturing into the river. They are paying the workers well, so they can maintain a good quality of life. They are improving the plant and also the community”. Therefore, when a boiler is bought from TARM, the whole price is figured in—We both ended the conversation feeling much better about our product and the pricing. It is important for our customers to know that our boilers are “clean” in more ways than one!