Many years ago I visited the Jokkmokk and Kvikkjokk areas in Swedish Lapland. Way up north! I spent a spell staying with a Sámi family, and that left me with an enduring interest in the Sámi people. I have returned occasionally to that region of northern Europe, and we have from time to time reported in hidden europe on Sámi communities. Last summer we had a piece on the Kola Sámi (in Lovozero in northwest Russia). One of the key points we learnt from the Lovozero Sámi was how warmer autumns are making life much harder for the local Sámi. They rely on frozen ground to allow winter mobility in the tundra. But these days the ground does not freeze till later – sometimes not until Christmas.
And today I had troubling news from that very area of Swedish Lapland that I knew so well many years ago. Evidently about 300 reindeer have perished as Sámi herders migrated across the northern wilderness with their herds. And the cause? As they crossed a huge river, normally well frozen by this time of year, the ice cracked and many reindeer plunged through cracks to icy deaths. A heavy price for global warming is being paid by some of those communities least responsible for our profligate consumption of fossil fuels.
( hidden europe)
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