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The futures we didn’t take

IT-student Madeleine Käte was curious to know what could happen if people shifted their perspective in the climate debate. She decided to investigate it in her study ‘The futures we didn’t take’.

The Energy Academy Manifest

20 years of work with renewable energy requires a manifest that can show the present in the future. You can find it here – and somewhere buried on Samsø.

Participatory innovation

Irina Papazus phd. about participatory innovation on Samsø consists of 5 stories circling around the global and the local, center and periphery, the concrete and the abstract, the ambitious and the everyday.

Conversations about biogas

How does one take a cultural photograph of an island? Ethnologist and cultural analyst Sara Møller Hansen tried to do exactly that when she moved to Samsø to find out what the locals thought about the future biogas plant.

Activism – a notion that, in our view, is undergoing change

There was a time when activism was a question of life or death.

In our view, there is still not a single explanation or solution that frames activism as an interpretation or statement.

Let’s try to examine activism from the human perspective, and for just a moment use a hypothesis about approaching the phenomenon in psychological terms:

We as the species Homo Sapiens are equipped with a nervous system. This ingenious system includes the autonomic nervous system. This part of the nervous system is unconscious, i.e., it’s not controlled by our will. The opposite of the autonomic nervous system is the somatic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that we control.

When we look at the phenomenon of activism, it’s an area that’s difficult to weigh and measure in relation to our ability to better understand reason and effect of human behavior and actions.

When sections of the population and local communities create movements in order to change something immediately for the better, it may be totally dependent on how our will is controlled in relation to the potential consequences.

In the West, there are large global organizations that work with activism as a part of their DNA. Greenpeace is an example of a more organized kind of global activism. For instance, they bring global attention to activities that have serious immediate or long terms consequences.

Activism is perhaps a phenomenon and a movement that is essential. Ethically, activism is perhaps also about how to measure well-being and how it’s implemented in Gross National Product (GNP) calculations. In our current accounting models, activism can be an account that deals with connections among ecological systems so they are in balance. How does GNP take responsibility for how we take care of each other, and measured in money, what does our social cohesion cost? Which comes first, people or the economy? If not all stakeholders are activists, who will then be the mouthpiece for those of us who aren’t powerful, economically secure, and politically organized?

There are still many places in the world with unrest, where basic conditions of life and political stability don’t exist. What happens when corruption and environmental crises are out of control? That’s why it’s encouraging that the United Nations has compiled the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The question now is if diverse existing systems can band together and achieve the 159 subsidiary goals.

In terms of this, activism is one of the forces that may be of crucial global significance.

Samsø Energy Academy works with how climate change continually influences our lives on Samsø and in the rest of the world.

Which consequences affect and cause an unstable climate and environment, thus affecting nature? What is the significance if we as a local community don’t take drastic measures to reduce our CO2 footprint? On Samsø, each resident has a negative CO2 footprint of 3.5 tons.

Ten years of close, indispensable cooperation with the academic institution Aalborg University has given rise to greater insights into solutions, economics, and data in relation to how Samsø’s actions have influenced island management, and what our energy and resource account encompasses in terms of consumption.

One of the projects deals with the meaning of activism in terms of sustainability. What consequences does it have for larger power utilities when there is a lack of popular interest, or when people don’t know how to influence market forces and multinational trends that are a result of globalization?

Who is keeping an eye on whom and what are the tendencies? Research projects indicate that changes are difficult to achieve, as they are not only dependent on technical premises, but also on social and economic issues.

Despite many attempts to manage these changes, they happen slowly and in steps. This can be attributed to difficulties in finding technologically and economically viable alternatives, as well as maintaining ties to stakeholders.

 

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