When the Norwegian government facilitated the building of two wind farms in central Norway, officials congratulated themselves for both being green and producing energy. The wind turbines would replace carbon-heavy electric generating plants and stimulate economic growth in the region. The project was a win-win green new deal for everyone.
However, officials soon discovered that not all shades of green are equal. Even wind turbines are not green enough for some eco-radicals. Activists, including Greta Thunberg, recently blockaded Norwegian ministries in Oslo, asking that the unsightly windmills be removed.
Abandoning the Windmill
Such a demand might seem surprising since there is a myth around the windmill that confers an almost sacred character upon it. It is the archetypal symbol of what it means to be green. There never seem to be enough windmills to satisfy green activists. Despite the high ecological costs of manufacturing them, the ugly turbines pop up everywhere.
However, the Oslo incident shows that the new eco-radicals will give up this revered symbol to further their fight for the earth. Windmills can be sacrificed. These perfectly-functioning Norwegian ones must come down.
This particular change is because the Norwegian turbines disturb reindeer pastures. Radical ecologists hold that all things in nature are equal and that humanity has no special dominion. Care must be given to animals, plants, rocks, water or air. The human oppressor should suffer if it is a choice between animal comfort and human misery.
However, a second reason for Greta’s demand actually does involve humans. Activists will hug fewer trees and embrace some humans to advance their cause. The same radicals who show more compassion for whales than humans will defend primitive peoples. Thus, they claim the turbines violate the human rights of the indigenous Sami people (aka Laplanders) by disrupting age-old traditions.
In 2021, the case went to Norway’s Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Sami rights. However, the court did not indicate what should be done with the wind farms. Meanwhille, the 151 turbines that can power 100,000 Norwegian households continue churning out their now-tainted green energy.
Creating a New Myth
For this reason, Greta and company appeared on ministry steps. To further the eco-cause, they have abandoned the windmill myth and adopted another: the myth of the Sami people.
The Sami people are the descendants of nomadic peoples who have lived in northern Scandinavia for around two thousand years. For centuries, they have intermingled with the Scandinavian peoples. The Sami people engaged in reindeer herding. They lived in turf huts, and groups of five or six families followed their herds as they pastured. They supplemented their diet with hunting and fishing.
The eco-activists have adopted this eco-friendly depiction of the Sami people. They see them as living in harmony with nature. Thus, they take up their cause at the Norwegian ministries when noisy windmills interrupt their sleep and frighten their reindeer.
Greta Thunberg denounced the government, saying that the transition to green energy should not come at the expense of indigenous Sami rights.
The Sami Myth
The only problem with the Sami myth is that this idealized portrayal no longer exists.
Reindeer herding is a tiny part of modern Sami life. They now use modern herding techniques (and noisy snowmobiles). The 30,000 Sami people in Norway no longer live in turf huts or hunt and fish to supplement their diet. They are not nomadic, and most do not know the Sami language to use on their cell phones.
Nearly all adopted Christianity centuries ago and have no notion of any ancient religion beyond folkloric customs. Sami individuals are found all over the Scandinavian professional, cultural and academic world. The old Sami tribesman only exists in the inflated imaginations of eco-radicals, ever ready to use them as their standard bearer.
Introducing a New Eco-revolution
The recent incident at the Norwegian Parliament shows the true face of today’s ecological movement. The political establishment played by all the rules and thought they were helping the environment. The new eco-radicals tore up the rules and called for ever more concessions from those who were not green enough.
A new, more radical generation of eco-radicals is aborning. Unfortunately, many comfortable consumers still think they live in the old-school world that strove to prevent humanity from polluting the earth. The old school taught that it was enough to recycle, get carbon credits and make the earth a better and cleaner place to live.
That is the old way of thinking, which is not radical enough for today’s eco-activists. The windmill represents yesterday’s eco-revolution. The new one would like to go much further, even at the expense of exploiting indigenous peoples.
The Sami myth shows that the movement’s goal is not clean energy. They target the notion of civilization, which dominates nature. The most radical elements are arguing for human extinction as seen in Adam Kirsch’s book, The Revolt Against Humanity: Imagining a Future Without Us.
The Greta protest shows that any means can be used to obtain a revolutionary end. That means abandoning past myths and imagining others to further the cause. Indeed, nothing is safe when even windmills are not green enough.
Photo Credit: © Fokke Baarssen – stock.adobe.com