Green 'Colonialism'? Greta Thunberg Joins Indigenous Protest Opposing Wind Power in Norway
Despite starting off as a pure environmentalist, Thunberg shifted to becoming a catch-all type of activist, campaigning for everything from indigenous communities to trans rights.
In a rather remarkable turn of events, a massive protest opposing the construction of a wind farm led by Norway's indigenous Sami community was joined by celebrated Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who ordinarily takes the "green" side of events and is a vocal advocate for ending the world's reliance on carbon-based power and fossil fuels.
This time, however, Thunberg astonishingly chose the side fighting the green transition, by chaining herself alongside other activists to a side-entrance of Norway's Oil and Energy Ministry, until numerous police cars arrived to break up the demonstration.
"This is an international disgrace that affects not only Norway. There is a global struggle for the rights of indigenous peoples all over the world. This is unfortunately just an example of that," Greta Thunberg, known for her passionate support of renewables, told Norwegian media. She also added that the climate transition cannot be used "as a cover for colonialism."
When confronted by journalists as to why she was protesting against wind power that she would otherwise be in favor of, Thunberg replied that it was not a question of opposition to wind power, but a human rights violation issue.
"We cannot have climate change at the expense of indigenous peoples' rights," she maintained.
The wind power plant at Fosen outside the city of Trondheim in Norway has been an arena for hot debates for several decades. The indigenous Sami community has used the mountainous terrain for the winter herding of reindeer ever since the 16th century. However, since the 2000s, Norway's largest wind farm has grown there instead. The protests and lawsuits have been carrying on for almost two decades, culminating in a recent police action against protesters who occupied the Oil and Energy ministry’s lobby in downtown Oslo and refused to leave. The activists were carried out one by one, given citations, yet released — only to continue their protest.
Norway's Supreme Court in 2021 ruled that the wind farms built at Fosen in central Norway violated Sami historical rights under international conventions, but the over 150 turbines remain in operation more than 16 months later — a situation the Energy Ministry itself described as a legal quandary, pledging to find a solution that would allow the turbines and the pastures to somehow co-exist.
29 November 2022, 07:19 GMT
This is also the latest in the string of clashes between the Norwegian state and the Sami community, which involve pastures being turned into constructions sites for wind parks and rivers being dammed up for the sake of hydropower.
In her heydey, Greta Thunberg shot to international fame and recognition across the world as a 15-year-old teenager by organizing her now famous global Fridays for Future movement, where she would protest outside the Swedish parilament. Basking in the media spotlight
and gaining the admiration of politicians that she herself castigated for failing both the planet and the public, Thunberg became an environmentalist sensation
and a climate guru of sorts. Ever since then, she has continued to tour the globe, delivering emotional speeches and admonishing world leaders on their failure to properly address the climate dilemma, while receiving countless accolades and trophies, in addition to teaming up with celebrities-turned-environmentalists.
Recently, however, Thunberg added the support of indigenous communities across the globe and sexual minorities to her increasingly political and somewhat contradictory
repertoir, using catchwords like "colonialism," "feminism," "toxic masculinity" and "trans rights."