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"Change yourself to change the world"

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"Change yourself to change the world"
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Singer-songwriter Stefan Wolffbrandt lives on Samso, the Danish island that is famous for reaching carbon neutrality in just a few years. Stefan founded and used to own Samso's oldtimer auto museum, a resting place for classic cars. One day, however, he decided to sell his classic car collection and set up Samso's electric car association, lobbying hard for a transport revolution on the island. Despite his best efforts, Stefan remains frustrated that ambitious targets to faze out petrol and diesel cars have not been achieved.

"We should have been at 50 percent electrical vehicles on Samso by now, but it did not happen," he says, adding: "That is a catastrophe."

Despite the island's excellent green credentials, Samso is still lagging behind when it comes to its own self-defined transport targets. Buses on the island still run on diesel and many of the 4000 or so inhabitants own a petrol or diesel run cars. Stefan is determined to change that and is in talks with some leading car-makers.

_"We want to be a first mover on autonomous electric cars here in Samso," he says.
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"Like a test area, so that we can show the world that this is the future. And by 2030 we want to get rid of all the diesel and petrol cars that we have here on the island."

The singer-songwriter has recently finished recording a new album which features a song about CO2 emissions. Euronews' Hans von der Brelie caught up with him at his eco-friendly home on Samso.

Euronews: "You are singing about CO2. What are you doing to change something?"

Stefan Wolffbrandt: "Everything starts with yourself. We are sitting now in a low energy house, it is very well insolated, that means not using much energy. This house uses very little energy, some 7500 kw/h a year. The payment for the heating is around 300 euros a year. I am not emitting much CO2, because I use renewable energy, given the fact that the house is very well insulated, so I do not use oil or gas or anything like that."

Euronews: "Regarding your music, you work with emotions. But this ongoing energy revolution is also about facts and figures. Tell us, what is the money you have put into this place and: is it worth investing into renewables and energy savings techniques?"

Stefan Wolffbrandt: "I invested about 24,000 to 25,000 euros and with the energy savings of about 8,000 euros a year it took just three years to pay back. So the facts are: you are doing something for the environment but also your investments pay back quickly. There is no reason not to do it. Just go ahead. Everybody can do it. Wherever they live. Invest into renewable energy and it pays back almost from the first day. Maybe you have to take a credit from the bank, but it pays back - and it pays for the environment too.

"I have a small climate village. I own five houses here on Samso island. I spend around 2,000 euros altogether for heating all those five houses: a music studio, a workshop, two houses I rent out and this big house where I live in. I save around 8,000 euros a year and that is what I call freedom, because I have to work less, I need to earn less money, I can relax and stay at home with my children and enjoy life.

"I put up solar panels, a pellet heater, a wind turbine... It is a good investment, first of all moneywise, but it is also a good investment for the environment. I do not pollute much, I do not emit much CO2, my CO2 footprint is very little. I like this. I save the world and it starts here, it starts with yourself.

"I feel the responsibility to do it for my children. I have a lot of children. They are the future. I am not going to destroy that. I am going to do something good for the future and for the planet. I have to start somewhere, instead of doing nothing and sitting and waiting and spending energy and buying nice stuff and so on... You have to change yourself to change the world."