The Search for Legal Remedies
Edited by Randall S. Abate and Elizabeth Ann Kronk
Chapter 14: The Saami facing the impacts of global climate change
Key scientific reports and climate models have provided a comprehensive picture of the biophysical effects of climate change and have effectively characterized the Arctic as the world’s barometer of global environmental change. As circumpolar peoples are already witnessing and experiencing some of the rapid changes taking place in the Arctic, they too have started documenting the impacts of climate change. All these findings have created a basis for political action to combat climate change in the Arctic. While Arctic communities are trying to respond to climate change, external and internal stressors are severely testing their ability to adapt. This chapter focuses specifically on how climate change challenges the indigenous peoples of northern Scandinavia, namely the Saami. The Saami (also spelled Sámi or Sápmi, with or without accent) are the only officially recognized indigenous peoples living within Europe. They are the indigenous people of Sápmi (Samiland), a territory that today spans the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula and also constitutes some of Europe’s last remaining wilderness areas.
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