Scotland has the largest oil reserve in the E.U. They just proved they don't need it.

What were you doing on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016?

I cleaned my apartment and made some amazing curry. Meanwhile, the world was pretty active too. Thailand approved a new constitution, for instance. And down in Rio, it was day two of the Olympics, featuring archery, diving, and weightlifting.

If you were in Scotland, however, you might have been distracted from the Olympics by the gigantic winds. Aug. 7 was a very blustery day for Scotland. The winds reached 115 mph in some places!


For many people, the high winds were problematic. Some bridges had to be closed, for example, and ferry and train services were affected.

But the winds also contributed something awesome for Scotland:

The wind on Sunday produced enough electricity to completely power Scotland. All of it. With zero fossil fuels.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

An analysis of WeatherEnergy data by WWF Scotland suggested that wind power produced 106% of Scotland's energy needs. That's enough to not only run the country, but to power over 75,000 homes as well!*

It's worth noting that this was kind of a magical confluence of factors: The extreme wind certainly helped, but energy demands are typically lower during the weekend. Still, it's a huge milestone for a seriously cool country.

Scotland's got some serious renewable chops going on.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

Though Scotland is estimated to have the largest oil reserves in the E.U., they're seriously dedicated to renewables. In fact, renewables contribute about half of Scotland's electricity — dwarfing both nuclear (33%) and fossil fuels (28%)!

Scotland's government plans to generate the equivalent of 100% of its electricity needs through renewables by 2020.

Wind makes up most of Scotland's renewables, but they're also using wave and tidal energy, as well as hydroelectric.

When they were unveiled in 2010, Scotland's AK-1000 turbines were thought to be the largest tidal generators in the world. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

We still need better infrastructure for renewable energy as a whole, but Scotland's epic day shows the power of renewables.

One of the things keeping solar, wind, and other forms of renewable energy from completely taking over the grid in many places is the lack of infrastructure. We need to build up our grid to take better advantage of peaks like these while also buffering it for the low days.

But on Aug. 7, 2016, Scotland proved that renewables can provide more than enough electricity. Now we just need the will and infrastructure to bring it everywhere.

Heroes

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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