Municipality Schiermonnikoog visits Samso Energy Academy
-written by Tim Schnider
The municipality of Schiermonnikoog is the smallest island of the Dutch wadden islands. It is located in the North Sea and has less than 1000 citizen. Even though the island is small, the people have big dreams about a sustainable future.
On the island everything is going well, however, the citizens want a change. They want to become climate neutral and protect their environment to fight climate change. To do so, they must pay attention to their most important conditions: nature and tourism. Tourism is the biggest business on the island. Around 300000 visitors come to explore the beautiful nature on the island every year. The tourists consume a big amount of energy which is imported from the mainland. Now the island wants to become self-sufficient and produce its own electricity, but power generation, nature and tourism are in conflict.
To get new inspirations and answers for their questions citizens of different occupational fields came together to visit the Energy Academy on Samso in Denmark. The Energy Academy made Samso already self-sufficient and can share their experience how they enabled the change. The people of Schiermonnikoog wanted to know how they can convince people to reach the same goal. Many people have different interest and are not open for other ideas. Therefore, it is necessary to understand their interests and create a community with the same goals. The first step is about sharing, learning, and understanding. It is helpful to work with questions instead of answers because questions create a space for thinking.
The major of Schiermonnikoog, Ineke van Gent, would like to build Samso 2.0 on their island. She got inspiration from the visit and tries to realize the same through communicating to the citizen and developing a shared goal.