In a surprising turn in her career as a world-renowned climate advocate, Greta Thunberg has joined a protest calling for the demolition of wind turbines in Norway.
Lying at the heart of the matter is the claim that the two wind farms in question were built directly on reindeer grazing lands used by the country’s Indigenous Sámi people.
Thunberg, who is from neighbouring Sweden, demonstrated in Oslo last week joining calls for the removal of the 151 wind turbines from the Fosen region – a homeland for Europe’s only recognized Indigenous group.
In 2021, Norway’s Supreme Court ruled that the project violated the human rights of the Sámi. Despite this the wind farms have continued to operate over the past few years.
Thunberg charged the Norwegian government with “colonialism” while speaking at the demonstration last Wednesday.
“We cannot use the so-called climate transition as a cover for colonialism,” said Thunberg.
“A climate transition that violates human rights is not a climate transition worthy of the name and therefore we must stand up against the human rights violations that are happening here.”
In response, the Norwegian government has said it is investigating avenues for the wind turbines to co-exist with the Sámi’s reindeer grazing practices but activists have refused the suggestion.
Thunberg’s latest stunt raises questions about whether Canada could become her next target, considering the fact that the Swedish climate activist has endorsed Canadian climate issues in the past, including by directly challenging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
First Nations have disputed the construction of wind farms in Canada before.
In 2012, Ontario’s the Anishinabek Nation Northern Superior Chiefs charged the government with ignoring their traditional territorial claims by moving forward with a project to build 36 wind turbines near Sault Ste. Marie.
“There was no consultation with the developer BluEarth Renewables,” said Chief Buckell of Michipicoten First Nation at the time.
“It seems that Batchewana First Nation has made a deal with BluEarth Renewables and Batchewana claims that they consider it their area which is a least 50 Kilometres from their reserve. They are ignoring the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850 where the boundaries are clearly stated. This needs to be addressed by the Federal government.”
The project was eventually completed in 2015 and currently has 36 operational wind turbines.