Climate change affects everyone, but it affects some more than others. The frontlines of climate impacts are everywhere, including on our own continent, here in Europe, right now. The indigenous Saami, living in the Arctic regions of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia, are one of those frontlines – one that we need to listen to and learn from, to guide the work we do in this movement.
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. Since 1900 average temperatures have increased by 3.5°C, and Saami livelihoods and ways of life are being hit hard by the warmer and more unpredictable weather. The exploitation of nature, racism and rules imposed by profit-driven, colonialist power structures also inflict great harm on Saami communities.
And yet whilst Saami people are so affected by climate change and exploitation of nature, they have done least to cause it. The rest of the world can look up to their way of life — deeply connected with the natural world — for solutions to these crises.
“We, the Saami, are a native people. We have lived with nature, not against it. We don’t try to exchange nature for money.”
– Mio Negga
These inspiring stories remind us all that the most powerful movements in history have been the ones led by those that are most impacted.