Climate change plea from tribe of herders who face extinction
The Independent [UK] – 10 May 2008

LONDON, UK: Olav Mathias-Eira is a member of the Sami community, one of the largest indigenous groups remaining in Europe, and his family have been herding reindeer in the same stretch of the Norwegian Arctic since the 1400s. But because of climate change, their lifestyle, unchanged for centuries, is now at risk. So Mr Mathias-Eira, 50, has travelled to Britain to issue an urgent plea in the hope that his people and livelihood can be saved. The heavy winter rains and storms, previously unheard of, are making their ancient ice-roads treacherous. Because these thinning pathways are necessary to reach their reindeer, they turn herding into a life-threatening experience. Now only 10 per cent of the remaining Samis are herding reindeer, which means that a cornerstone of their traditional way of life is in jeopardy. “The reindeer [weighs] about 80kg, and it needs a good, solid ice when you are moving the herd,” said Mr Mathias-Eira. “But traditional knowledge is no good any more, we just can’t trust the ice.” Read the article…