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Sustainable Energy Futures

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Ungreen windpower: Sámi Indigenous and scientific perspectives on fossil dependent and environmentally destructive designs

Ungreen windpower: Sámi Indigenous and scientific perspectives on fossil dependent and environmentally destructive designs

This film is produced by Dálkke, a research project and research group at Uppsala University, within the Swedish National Research Programme on Climate, the Swedish research council FORMAS

In the film, Henrik Andersson, reindeer herder within Gällivare Forest Sámi village, Norrbotten County, Sweden, speaks about the environmental destruction caused by the Swedish state, through forestry practices by the Swedish state owned forest company Sveaskog, as well as the planned wind energy industrial area by the Swedish state power company Vattenfall.

Associate Professor Eva Charlotta Helsdotter, Uppsala University, tells about how the analysis of windpower is not taking into account all relevant aspects in terms of fossil dependency and environmental consequences.

A large part of what is needed to establish, maintain, as well as decommission windpower is never taken into account within the so called LCA analyses.

This is what makes it possibly to ? falsely ? claim that windpower is green. However, the windpower designs of today cannot be considered green, nor fossil free.

The area in question is one out of two project areas for windpower within Gällivare Forest Sámi village - ?Storlandet?, which is the ancestral grounds of Henrik Andersson?s family. Work is currently ongoing with an environmental impact study, planned to be ready for submission in 2022.

The other wind power industry area that is planned within the area for the Gällivare Forest Sámi Village is Hällberget, conducted by a private power company Vasavind, owned by the Dutch pension fund APG.

In early 2021 it received permission to go ahead with a smaller part of its project. The Hällberget project is currently (August 2021) in court process.
The Swedish state, the European Union (EU), as well as actors within the energy market, environmental organizations and climate activists all insist in the promotion of windpower as ?green?, fossil free and thereby environmentally friendly.

A large part of these constructions are planned for in Sámi territories, on land that has been taken from Sámi during late 19th and early 20th century.

Furthermore, the wind power industrial areas have major negative impacts for the local environment. Forests are clear cut and replaced with 100 ? 300 meters high steel constructions, on massive foundations made of concrete.

Construction and maintenance demands new mines, car and truck access roads and thereby new stone quarries causing major wounds in the landscape.

These industrial areas have major negative consequence for the local environment, fresh water, nature, wild life, local inhabitants as well as reindeer herding.

This film is part of a supradisciplinary research and documentary project on (un)sustainable power production, researching and documenting the subject matter from Indigenous Sámi reindeer herding point of view, along with analyses of the whole windpower industry.

Henrik Andersson, Gällivare Forest Sámi Village, who works to protect - through research and challenging decision makers - the reindeer and other animals from a destructive power production mode along with the Sámi traditional culture in the area is at the front.

The Sámi reindeer herding culture is documented to having lived and prospered here since at least two millennia.

What can EU, Sweden and EU member countries learn from the knowledges and understandings of the Sámi reindeer herders? What is needed to make their voices heard and turned into policy making in Sweden and in the EU?

Filmed from September 2020, to August 2021. Sequences from the film ?The Last Generation?? Storlöpare 2016 ? reindeer feeding - and by the fire.

The film is part of the research project: ?Safe and Sustainable Energy Futures in Sápmi? FORMAS dnr 2016-01039, and two projects within the Swedish National Programme on Climate: ?Dálkke: Indigenous climate change studies? FORMAS dnr 2017-01923 and ?Living without oil?! Rethinking relations with lands and waters with Indigenous Land Based Expertise for a transition towards a fossil free welfare society? FORMAS Dnr 2019-01975.

All projects are led by May-Britt Öhman, Associate professor in Environmental history, PhD in History of Technology, researcher at the Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism, CEMFOR, Uppsala University.

Copyright: May-Britt Öhman, Henrik Andersson, Petri Storlöpare
License via Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

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Kontaktperson för denna film
May-Britt Öhman, Centrum för mångvetenskaplig forskning om rasism (CFR)

22 juni 2023



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Films produced within the research projects FORMAS future research leaders project Safe and sustainable energy futures in Sápmi FORMAS Dnr 2016-01039; Dálkke: Indigenous Climate Change Studies, FORMAS Dnr 2017-01923, and Living without oil?! Rethinking relations with lands and waters with Indigenous Land Based Expertise for a transition towards a fossil free welfare society, FORMAS Dnr 2019-01975, within the Swedish National research programme on climate, led by Associate professor, May-Britt Öhman, Uppsala University.

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