Voices From the Front Lines

10 December 2018

Reindeer herding has long been a central part of Saami culture. Unfortunately, temperature changes are increasingly devastating this tradition: it’s more and more difficult to find food for grazing and many animals have perished from diseases. Sanna Vannar, a 22-year-old Saami living in the Arctic Circle comes from a traditional reindeer herder family. She is deeply concerned, “If we lose the reindeers, the Saami culture will be lost.” This summer, she lived the devastating wildfires in the Arctic circle.

Maurice, a French lavender farmer, lost 44% of his revenue in the last 6 years, due to consecutive droughts in the south of France. His son Renaud is the first generation who can no longer guarantee sufficient income for the whole family.

Only a year ago, Armando, a Portuguese land owner, lost his home, as well as all his forested land, to the wildfires.

The Vlad family lives in the Carpathian Mountains and is at risk of losing their family farm, livestock, and traditional occupation due to increasing temperatures and droughts. They now have to take their cattle to a much higher altitude for water and decent grass. Petru Vlad, the father, explains, “I cannot go any further up with our herds, because above 2000m there is only the sky.”

All these families have one thing in common. They suffer from the consequences of climate change, regardless of where they live, reminding us that no one is immune to its devastating impacts.

They also know that missing the1.5°C target will irreversibly change their lives. They are taking action in the only way possible for citizens: taking the EU Member States to court over its unambitious 2030 target. But, seriously, do governments need a court decision to fulfill their duty and protect citizens?

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