Would you like to taste environmental conflict?

Environmental conflict mediation in northern Finland. Sounds bulky, eh? The goal of this project and these podcasts is to dismantle that bulky concept into stories and people so that it makes sense. 

Saisiko olla ympäristökonfliktisoppaa? -hanke.


By Rae Ellen Bichell (@Rae_Ellen_) - podcats about environmental mediation way up north.  The interviews are available at the address: https://soundcloud.com/mediatenorth

One tough job

Philip Burgess, a researcher at the International Center for Reindeer Husbandry based in Kautokeino, Norway, gives here a crash course in some of the obstacles that have made reindeer herding in Nordic countries such a tough job, from border fences, mining and tourism to Chernobyl fallout.

The spring that never freezes

At the entrance of Kevo National Park, there’s a gurgling spring that spits out so much water that ice never manages to seal it off. Though the local Sámi have long been Christian, it was still considered a sacred site, says Rauna Kuokkanen, an associate professor at the University of Toronto in political science and aboriginal studies.

Around 2000, a foreign company approached the municipality with an offer: They wanted to set up a water bottling plant and ship the exotic spring water to thirsty Arab countries. The incident revealed to her a lot of issues with Sámi self-governance in Sápmi, or northern Finland.

Malla, a rocky hill

About a hundred years ago, Malla area close to Lake Kilpisjärvi at Enontekiö was declared a Strict Nature Reserve, making it illegal for reindeer to graze there. But reindeer don’t care much for regulations.

The hill is in some sort of limbo, with biologists threatening to put up fences and drive away the animals with police helicopters, and reindeer continuing to graze. It’s a classic environmental conflict where both sides feel like victims, which tends to make mediation or resolution really tough. Interviews with population biologist Antero Järvinen who is head of the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station and Tuomas Palojärvi, head of local reindeer herders´ organization Käsivarren paliskunta in summer 2015.


Finland´s critical moment

Environmental mediation is an established field in the U.S. There are academic experts, mediation companies, protocols, and court structures in place. Not so in Finland, says Lasse Peltonen, a mediator and a senior researcher at SYKE, the Finnish Environment Institute. He and colleague-spouse Jonna Kangasoja are both trained in mediation and recently started a mediation company based in Helsinki

Mind the Gaps

Leena Heinämäki is a researcher at the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland. She discusses the right of indigenous peoples to meaningfully participate in environmental decision making, the international legal machinery for indigenous land protection, and the trouble with sacred natural sites.

Arctic Mines, Part 2 

Mines in the north are inevitable, says Kai Kokko, professor of environmental law at the University of Helsinki. Society needs minerals. People need jobs. So, a balance has to be struck between economic, cultural, and ecological sustainability. It isn't easy, but it is possible. Kokko explains how.  

Arctic Mines, Part 1

Oil and mineral prospectors are turning their heads to the Arctic. There, says researcher Markus Kröger, Australian, Canadian, British, and Swedish companies have been surveying, investing, speculating, and drilling. In some cases, he says, dialogue between conflicting parties can be a "trap."

Extra: Poisoned Breast Milk

About three months after starting work at a smelting plant in Mombasa, Kenya, Phyllis Omido’s baby boy got sick. A blood test showed the baby had lead poisoning. He’d gotten it straight from his mother’s breast milk. His mother had gotten it from her job at the smelting plant. Omido recently won a Goldman Environmental Prize for her work in Mombasa. In this video, she talks with Päivi Kapiainen-Heiskanen about the environmental conflict that turned her into an activist.

Herders vs. Lumberjacks

Nuccio Mazzullo, an anthropologist at the University of Lapland's Arctic Centre, talks about a 20-year environmental dispute in Nellim, in the remote northern Finland.

Special Dirt

Juha-Pekka Turunen maps large-scale conflicts to figure out where people might be able to find a compromise. One of his trickiest tasks had to do with harvesting peat. It's basically special dirt. But since a third of the country is a peat bog, it was one heck of a job.

What is the ILO 169?

Reetta Toivanen, an anthropologist at the University of Helsinki, explains how land ownership flip-flopped in Finland, how the young nation has grappled with unity since before it even existed, and why she thinks this is was the last chance for the ILO 169 to make it into Finnish policy.

"Everything is"

Pirita Näkkäläjärvi, head of Sámi speaking TV and radio in Finland, talks about how Arctic activity and the indigenous Sámi intersect.



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The Mediate North

An audio archive about environmental meditation way up north.

The Reindeer Belong to the Wind

A documentary film that gives a voice to the Käsivarsi reindeer herding co-operative members. They describe in their own words what threats their traditional livelihood is facing in modern times.


Saisiko olla ympäristökonfliktisoppaa?

Verkkopalvelumme käyttää evästeitä, lue lisää evästeistä. Jatkamalla sivuston selailua hyväksyt evästeiden käytön. [Hyväksyn ehdot]