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Climate activist Greta Thunberg, along with other protesters, has chained herself to the entrance of the Norway Ministry of Energy to protest wind turbines operating on lands used by the Sami Indigenous people to herd reindeer. The placement of clean energy turbines on indigenous lands is a violation of human rights, according to Thunberg and the protesters.
Source: Channel 4 News/Youtube
The turbines currently run on land in Arctic Norway, which the nation’s Supreme Court ruled in 2021 violated the rights of the Sami, who have used the land to raise reindeer for centuries. Despite this ruling, the wind farm has continued to operate, much to the chagrin of the Sami people.
Activists from the Young Friends of The Earth Norway and the Norwegian Sami Association’s youth council NSR-Nuorat chained themselves, along with Thunberg, to the entrance of the ministry and blocked access to the government building.
The continued turbine operations are an “ongoing human rights violation” and “must come to an end,” said Thunberg. “Indigenous rights, human rights, must go hand-in-hand with climate protection and climate action. That can’t happen at the expense of some people. Then it is not climate justice.”
The Sami – who live in an area known as Lapland, which stretches across parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and over to Russia – have argued that the sight and sound of the powerful turbines disrupt their herding traditions. They have demanded that the wind farm be torn down.
Thunberg called the decision by the Norwegian government to ignore the Supreme Court ruling “absurd” and joined the five-day-long protest early Monday morning. The protesters originally occupied the ministry’s lobby but were kicked out by authorities Monday, according to local media.
They then chained themselves to the front of the ministry, which forced the ministry to ask employees to work from home. Norway’s Energy Minister Terje Aasland told Norwegian media that though the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the turbines, it did not rule on what should be done about the wind farm. The protesters were eventually removed from the premises though they were not arrested.
This protest highlights the importance of considering the impact of renewable energy projects on indigenous communities. It is essential to recognize that climate justice cannot be achieved without social justice. As we move towards a greener future, it is important to ensure that indigenous rights are protected and that we work collaboratively with these communities to address Climate change.
We can all take action to Support indigenous communities and promote sustainable energy solutions. One way to do this is to Support organizations that work to protect indigenous rights and promote renewable energy in a socially just manner. We can also educate ourselves and others about the importance of considering the impact of renewable energy projects on indigenous communities.
Let’s use this opportunity to amplify the voices of indigenous communities and work towards a greener, more just future for all.
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