In Bio-Fuel We Trust

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Publication year: 2006
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutionsSDG 7 Affordable and clean energy
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In bio-fuel we trust. Or do we? In this chapter, ethnographic material from Sweden is used to discuss ways sin which trust may influence the choice of bio-fuel for heating purposes. The meaning and substance of trust or distrust, as well as the very conditions for trust, are elaborated on in relation to solar and bio-pellet systems, district heating with bio-fuel, and traditional fireplaces. An important conclusion of this chapter is that the degree to which people perceive others as being like themselves or not tends to be decisive for whether these others are to be trusted, and therefore worth listening to. The context and situation in which a certain heating system is being chosen does not only involve trust in individuals, however, but in companies and the authorities, as well as in the arterfacts themselves. An example is given on how distrust of district heating companies led house owners to reject an offer of district heating despite the comfort and environmental benefit this could have provided. it is shown how this distrust might be resolved by making the rhythm of households and sitrict heating companies more in step with one another. The strong emotional attachment to and deep-felt trust in the traditional fireplace is also analysed, and a question is put forward as to whether these feelings could be transferred to modern bio-pellet stoves. Finally, our great and assured trust in bio-fuel as a main solution to global climate change is shortly commented upon and partly questioned.


Annette Henning

Högskolan Dalarna; Miljöteknik
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