Thunberg, Norwegian Sami Activists Demand Removal of Wind Turbines From Indigenous Lands
"Indigenous rights, human rights must go hand-in-hand with climate protection and climate action," Thunberg said. "That can't happen at the expense of some people."
Demanding that all countries center climate justice as they take steps to transition away from fossil fuel-sourced energy, Fridays for Future leader Greta Thunberg joined dozens of Norwegian Sami people and their supporters Monday at Norway's Energy Ministry to protest wind turbines that have been constructed on Indigenous lands.
"Indigenous rights, human rights must go hand-in-hand with climate protection and climate action," Thunberg toldReuters. "That can't happen at the expense of some people. Then it is not climate justice."
Thunberg was among hundreds of people who blocked the entrance to the ministry, with many participants chaining themselves together as they displayed a sign reading, "Land Back."
\u201cPlantet godt p\u00e5 plass igjen!\ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udffc\u201d— Natur og Ungdom (@Natur og Ungdom) 1677483018
The Sami people are demanding that the ministry abide by a 2021 Supreme Court ruling which found that two wind farms in central Norway violate the Samis' international rights.
The Indigenous group has traditionally herded reindeer on the land used by the Roan Vind and Fosen Vind farms, and the Sami protesters said the wind turbines used disturb the animals.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling handed down 16 months ago, the two farms remain in operation.
"It is absurd that the Norwegian government has chosen to ignore the ruling," Thunberg told the Associated Press.
The Swedish climate leader joined the protest days after Sami demonstrators began occupying the ministry's reception area last Thursday. Police forcibly removed about a dozen Sami people at about 2:30 am on Monday, before the group assembled outside the ministry and participants chained themselves together.
\u201cHow can the rule of law only apply if the state wins? 504 days has passed since the Supreme Court of Norway unanimously ruled that the wind power plant in Fosen violates the human rights of the S\u00e1mi people. Today protesting s\u00e1mi youth in Oslo were removed by the police.\u201d— The Saami Council (@The Saami Council) 1677496474
By using chains, "we make it practically more difficult to move us," Sami activist Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen toldNRK.
The Supreme Court did not specify in 2021 what the companies should do with the 151 wind turbines constructed on the land, and Reutersreported that the ministry is "hoping to find a compromise."
"We understand that this case is a burden for the reindeer herders," Minister of Energy and Petroleum Terje Aasland told Reuters. "The ministry will do what it can to contribute to resolving this case and that it will not take longer than necessary."
After the ruling was handed down, Sami Parliament president Silje Karine Muotka told Reuters that the decision "must have consequences."
"The consequence is that the wind farms need to be removed," Muotka said. "This is an opportunity for the minister to make right the wrongs of many others."
The wind farms—which are owned by Germany's Stadtwerke Muenchen, Norwegian utilities Statkraft and TroenderEnergi, and Swiss firms Energy Infrastructure Partners and BKW—say they are waiting for a decision from the government about how to proceed.
"We trust that the ministry will find good solutions allowing us to continue the production of renewable energy while maintaining the rights of the reindeer owners," said Roan Vind in a statement.