Climate Change Activist Greta Thunberg Protests Wind Farms in Norway

Climate Change Activist Greta Thunberg Protests Wind Farms in Norway


Why Greta Thunberg is protesting wind farms in Norway

Greta Thunberg is the face of a worldwide movement of young people concerned about climate change. Her Fridays for Future protests have galvanized thousands across the globe into taking action.

On Monday, Thunberg joined a group of Sami protesters in Norway who were blocking the entrance to the energy ministry. They are demanding the removal of a wind farm located on indigenous land used for reindeer herding, which they contend is being built without their consent.

Human Rights Violations

Greta Thunberg, one of the world's most renowned climate change activists, is taking action against wind farms in Norway that she claims violate Sami rights. On Monday she chained herself to the entrance of the Norwegian Ministry of Energy in Oslo alongside dozens of other activists demanding a transition away from carbon-based power sources.

Two wind turbines are situated on land used by Indigenous Sami reindeer herders, leading to controversy due to their violation of human rights and disruption to livelihood and traditions. Furthermore, noise from these turbines causes alarm among animals nearby, leading to animal escapes.

Indigenous Sami people from Norway and Sweden, joined by environmental organizations, have been protesting wind farms for weeks. They occupied the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy's reception area for several days to demand that they be rescinded.

On Monday, police forcibly removed the activists and arrested a woman from the group. Ella Marie Haetta Isaksen donned her traditional Sami costume inside out in protest as an act of defiance.

Another group of Sami people, many teenagers, is now blocking the doors to both the Finance Ministry and Agriculture Ministry. They claim that government inaction has resulted in the destruction of Sami traditions as well as the deaths of reindeer and other animals.

Tuesday morning, Oil & Energy Minister Terje Aasland--supported by the Socialist Left Party in Norway's parliament--attempted to meet with a group of protesters and reiterate his full respect for their rights and willingness to find an amicable resolution. But when he attempted to explain his ministry's position on this matter, he was met with insulting remarks such as: "Do you understand our position on this?"

In addition to the Socialist Left Party, the opposition Reds party also opposes the wind farm. They declared that Norway's supreme court decision to build turbines a violation of Sami human rights and demand their removal and land reclaimed.

In 2021, the Supreme Court of Norway ruled that construction of turbines on Fosen peninsula in central Norway violated Sami human rights under international conventions. Nevertheless, these turbines remain operational over 16 months later.

Climate Change

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish climate activist renowned for her opposition to fossil fuels. She has called on the world to transition away from carbon-based energy sources. But now, Greta Thunberg has joined a group of Indigenous Sami reindeer herders in Norway who are protesting two wind farms built on their land.

In central Norway's Fosen region, Sami lands have been taken over and turned into wind turbines. Last year the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled that construction of these turbines violated their rights as well as placed an undue burden on reindeer herders living their traditional lifestyle.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling, wind turbines remain in operation and have become a symbol of the environmental issues faced by reindeer herders. Not only do they cause stress to them and their animals, but also disrupt age-old traditions according to activists.

Recently, several wind farm projects have been proposed on land owned by Sami people in Norway and other Nordic countries. Some are already operational or under construction, while others will soon follow suit.

Sami, an indigenous population of approximately 100,000 spread out over Norway, Sweden and Finland in the Arctic region, are particularly feeling the effects of wind farms on their lands. They say the turbines frighten their reindeer and disrupt traditional ways of life such as using a herd's horns to identify relatives.

Thus, the Norwegian government and its partners in the project - wind energy companies and utilities - are under intense pressure to find alternatives that allow the continued operation of turbines. Owners of Roan Vind and Fosen Vind wind farms - German firm Stadtwerke Muenchen, Norwegian utility Statkraft and Swiss utilities BKW and Energy Infrastructure Partners - have promised to collaborate with reindeer herders as well as the Norwegian energy ministry on finding mitigation measures.

Sami people are an influential indigenous group living in Northern Europe and Russia, protected by international law. Their culture is unique and they enjoy many rights such as living on their own lands and engaging in traditional reindeer herding practices.


Greta Thunberg, dressed in chain links and wearing thick blankets, is blocking entrances to Norway's energy and finance ministries to protest against wind farms. She has joined a demonstration led by Sami Indigenous people who have been using these lands for centuries for reindeer herding.

Activists are calling for the removal of these turbines, citing a 2021 Supreme Court ruling that found their construction violated Sami rights under international treaties. They contend that these machines frighten animals and disrupt traditional grazing areas, so they must be removed.

In response, the Norwegian government has stated that determining the ultimate fate of wind farms presents a legal quandary. Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, it remains uncertain what should become of either the turbines or miles of roads built to facilitate their construction and operation.

As the world transitions towards a greener future, increasing clean energy sources requires more land. This is especially true in oil-rich countries where land demand has grown due to declining fossil fuel production and an increase in renewable power production.

One of the major obstacles in achieving this green transition is reconciling local interests with national ones, especially when those interests appear to conflict with those of small communities.

To this end, the European Union has implemented stringent permitting regulations that make building new onshore wind farms an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Even when sites meet environmental criteria, obtaining permits can prove challenging.

Europe has faced a major obstacle to the expansion of onshore wind power, which must triple by 2025 to meet EU targets for net zero emissions. Norway, however, has been able to develop its capacity due to government incentives designed to attract private investment.

However, these factors have had a detrimental effect on local communities in Norway. Many felt left behind by the project and some even went so far as to accuse its developers of neglecting their needs.

Environmental Impact

Climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has been campaigning against fossil fuel use for years, is taking her fight against wind farms in Norway to a new level. On Monday afternoon, she and other climate activists occupied Norway's energy ministry's entrance in protest of wind turbines being constructed near Sami communities.

In 2021, the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled that two wind farms in Fosen violated Sami human rights under international conventions. Despite this ruling, the turbines remain operational. The government is working to find a resolution but reindeer herders contend that noise and sight of turbines frighten their animals and disrupt their traditional ways of life.

Norway's majority of onshore wind-power plants are situated near or along the coast, where their impacts on birds are greater than other locations. Our study revealed that seabirds, raptors and waterfowl are especially vulnerable to collisions, disturbance and habitat loss caused by wind-power development due to their high distribution in coastal habitats and dependence on oceanic resources for food and nesting (Kalas et al., 2015; Stokke et al., 2021).

To assess these impacts, we used a global life-cycle impact assessment (LCA) methodology to examine how operational wind-power plants would affect bird species richness in Norway. We evaluated the overall effect of wind power development based on four main pathways: collisions, disturbance, habitat loss and mortality (Table 3). On average, our calculations show an overall average impact value of 5.143 x 10-9 PDF/GWh across all pathways; with lower values relating to vulnerable groups while higher values being due to disturbance.

Our findings demonstrate that onshore wind energy development in Norway, particularly the Fosen region, is not environmentally friendly. Furthermore, LCA results suggest zoning with spatially explicit LCIA models can enhance decision-making processes and reduce conflicts related to environmental concerns surrounding wind energy development in Norway - thus encouraging sustainable and eco-friendly wind energy production.

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