The heated struggle of the Sami

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Climate change threatens Sami herders and their reindeer in northern Sweden. Changing weather patterns affect not only the vulnerable nature, but also their culture and livelihood.

Sweden  – For many centuries reindeer have been central to the existence of the Sami. They are in tune with the natural rhythm of the animals, the seasons and their fertile grazing grounds and they earn their livelihood from their meat, fur and antlers. But climate change is posing a threat to the reindeer and their grazing areas, and thereby to the very survival of the Sami themselves. Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns are adversely affecting what has become a fragile ecosystem and the warming

of the Arctic region is leading to its commercialisation. Marja Skum (45) says that her generation, as well as those before it, have tried to adapt. But they have now reached the point at which they’ve had to say: this far and no further. “If we adapt even more, it will be at the cost of our way of life,” she insists. “Our resilience has now become a struggle to preserve our culture and our nature.”

Images: Nicole Franken – Text: Yvonne Dudock

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