What Samsø taught me
About three months ago, sometime between stepping out from a ferry in Sælvig for the first time and walking down the beach in Ballen, I fell in love with Samsø. Peacefulness, cute little houses, and beautiful nature are some of my favorite things here. One of the reasons might be that it reminds me of my hometown back in Croatia. But Samsø has another thing that intrigued me, and that is an engaged community.
As an engineer, I did not think too much about the importance of the involved community. I was more focused on what the numbers are showing because numbers never lie. I did hear about the bottom-up approach to planning and similar theories, but never really gave too much attention to that. But all of this was soon to be changed.
During my first days at Energy Academy, I already learned one of the most important and impactful lessons of my internship so far. Importance of community engagement. Energy Academy puts such a big emphasis on local people, whether it is in climate planning, supporting local businesses, or organizing events. I realized this is a secret to Samsø’s success in being a Danish renewable energy island. This was a first-hand experience I could not learn about from books. It’s not always about having the newest technology, calculating the best possible position for a wind turbine, or working with the best engineers in the world. Sometimes all you need is to sit down with your neighbors, listen to what they have to say, discuss, and find suitable solutions together.
Seeing and learning firsthand about how engaging community is key to a successful story completely changed my perspective on climate planning. This is a thing unique to Samsø and to Energy Academy. I don’t think anyone could have taught me or shown me a better example.