Sunday February 07, 2016

Lessons from a small, very green, island - a Karin Wells documentary

Wind-powered turbines cover 100 percent of the electrical needs of the 4,200 residents on the Danish island of Samso, which aims to be a model for renewable energy in Europe.

Wind-powered turbines cover 100 percent of the electrical needs of the 4,200 residents on the Danish island of Samso, which aims to be a model for renewable energy in Europe. (Slim ALLAGUI/AFP/Getty Images)

Listen 19:17

When the Paris conference on climate change concluded last last year, Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the UN, was pictured beaming - arms in the air, hand in hand with France's foreign minister. A wave of standing ovations swept round the room. The Executive Director of Green Peace International said, "Today the human race has joined in a common cause."  

A few hours away in Denmark, farmers and professional retirees from Copenhagen went about their daily lives generating wind power; shovelling bio-fuel into the community furnace; catching the Liquid Natural Gas ferry to the mainland. People who live on the island of Samso know what it's like to turn lofty goals into reality. 

Samso is the little island community that Denmark chose as the experimental site for the greenhouse gas emission goals it set after the Kyoto conference 20 years earlier. The biggest challenge wasn't the technology; rather it was pulling the community together.

Karin Wells's documentary is called "Green Island."  

Straw-burning facility on Samso

Straw-burning facility on Samso (Susan Mahoney)

Straw-burning furnace, Samso

Straw-burning furnace, providing district heat for homes on Samso (Susan Mahoney)

Houses on Samso

Home with thatched roof on Samso (Susan Mahoney)