People & Power

Is Sámi culture at risk from responses to climate change?

How the reindeer-herding Sami peoples of Europe’s far north are fighting to preserve their ancient way of life amidst global warming.

The world needs new industries and sources of vital raw materials for combatting the ever-worsening climate crisis.

But for the reindeer-herding Sámi people of Europe’s remote far north, which is home to many of the natural resources key to these green technologies, transitioning to a low-carbon future should not also mean jeopardising their centuries-old culture and traditions.

Their hope is that Sámi parliaments – established after much struggle to give a voice to Indigenous inhabitants – can help preserve their unique way of life, through pressure on the Scandinavian governments seeking to develop the Arctic tundra for everyone’s benefit.

But what if safeguarding the Sámi environmental heritage and saving the planet are, in the end, irreconcilable?