Prince Nikola Petrović-Njegoš is a very modern monarch. The heir to the throne of Montenegro is a genuine spokesman for his country’s ecological vision of the future. Meeting with Energy Observer.
Montenegro decided to include the protection of the environment in its constitution of 1992. Like other Balkan countries, it has fallen behind in environmental affairs. The small country on the Adriatic therefore has significant room for improvement, whilst gladly displaying its ecological principles.
Pogdorica achieved its ambitious target of bringing the proportion of renewable energy to 33% of its total energy consumption by 2020 thanks to hydroelectric power stations. Montenegro has also deployed the region’s largest wind farm which supplies 46,000 homes a year, replacing an annual atmospheric emission of 78,768 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
A princely ecological ambassador
Despite these efforts, it’s primarily the behaviour of the people of Montenegro that needs to change. Environmental awareness introduced by Prince Nikola Petrović-Njegoš, heir to the Montenegro throne, who is meeting the Energy Observer crew.
A ruler who also has Breton roots, as he was born in June 1944 in Saint-Brieuc, in the Cotes-d’Armor.
We are in the 21st century, even though I am aware of being the descendent of a royal dynasty, I also respect democratic institutions", the prince points out. "My only power - that I use in my own way - is to use my name to persuade and motivate people in a social Odyssey. It is easier to engage in an environmental vision when you are well-known.
Behind his rhetoric, Nikola Petrović-Njegoš is also engaged in a project that is close to his heart.
A responsible village
On the peninsula of Vrmac, a still-wild Mediterranean landscape dividing the bays of Kotor and Tivat, Maria and Zoran, a pair of passionate architects, have been working for 20 years to regenerate a traditional farming village, forgotten at the heart of a protected natural area and threatened by urban sprawl.
Intelligent “re-ruralisation” for a village that provides a real link between country and city life.
A complex and balanced interplay, in which neither the rural world nor its urban counterpart would take precedence over the other.
It's the cradle of civilisation, it must never become its tomb.
The project is establishing a permanent population, as well as attracting seasonal workers. It is engaged in organic farming and is aiming for sustainable energy, thanks to its renewable energy sources and its beneficial waste recycling.
“Once we have decided on an action plan, with priority areas for cleaning, the first results could be seen by next spring,” hopes the Prince. “We are going to equip ourselves with clearing equipment and clean transport, using the topography with cable systems. This is an operation that we can plan and finance today. Once the areas are accessible we can really start to give value to the areas that we will propose for returning to terraced cultivation.”
Eventually, the model could be adopted all over the world. An example to follow at the crossroads of environmental, social and economic challenges.