Climate activist Greta Thunberg, who in her home country is often referred to as “Climate Greta” has taken part in a climate demonstration with Sami youth in Jokkmokk, northern Sweden.
There, 17-year-old Thunberg, who made a name for herself by walking away from school and urging her fellow youth to “strike” and demand more strenuous climate action from their respective governments, called on the world to listen to indigenous peoples, including the Sami.
Repeating her mantra about “the acute climate crisis”, Thunberg claimed these people not only to be the first victims of climate change, but also called on them to “lead the fight” and “make the most resistance”. She described them as “the front line”, and pledged her support.
According to Thumberg, indigenous peoples possess a unique knowledge that is crucial for the future.
“The solutions to the climate issue must contain knowledge and wisdom from the indigenous peoples. We must learn from those who live by and through nature, give way to indigenous peoples around the world because we depend on them even if we do not realise it”, Thunberg said, as quoted by the newspaper Aftonbladet.
The Sami people are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting vast and largely inhospitable northern parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. There is a tiny Sami minority on Russia's Kola Peninsula as well. The Sami have historically been known as Lapps or Laplanders, a term which many nowadays regard as offensive. The Sami pursue a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding, but are arguably best known for semi-nomadic reindeer herding. In the most sparsely-populated areas of the respective countries, reindeer actually outnumber people.
In Scandinavia, which is home to at least 60,000 Sami, the Sami are believed to have long been the victims of “Finnisation”, “Swedisation”, and “Norwegisation” respectively. Additionally, their ancestral lands, fishing and herding grounds have seen the advent of industrial activity, such as mining and logging, as well as military activity.
Greta Thunberg shot to international fame in 2018 after launching a school strike movement, first as a solitary protest outside the Swedish parliament and then worldwide, encouraging fellow schoolkids to skip school and demand forceful climate action.
Ever since, she has been showered with unabating media attention, accolades, and prizes, narrowly missing the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, but being nominated once again in 2020.
While claiming that she is pronouncedly unpolitical, Thunberg has nevertheless exclusively mingled with left-of-centre politicians, including former US President Barack Obama, former US Vice President and fellow climate alarmist Al Gore and representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, whom she called “incredible”.