This month, Snowchange Cooperative turns 20 years old. The initial climate change network was founded in September 2000 between Finland, Murmansk and Vancouver. Full registry as a Cooperative took place in September 2005.
Snowchange Cooperative turns 20 years old. Please see highlights of the historical events at the chronology. In September 2000 the original founders of Snowchange connected Indigenous, local and research communities in Finland, Vancouver area, Canada and Murmansk, Arctic Russia. This is often cited as the birthdate of the international Snowchange actions. Five years later, the Indigenous and research network of communities evolved into a fully independent, non-profit community network across the boreal and the Arctic – the Snowchange Cooperative. This happened in the traditional farm and fish base of Olli Klemola, a Finnish Elder.
In 2014, the international Steering Committee of Snowchange was solidified to enshrine the direct voices and processes of the Arctic and boreal communities in the decision making of the organisation. HQ officially moved to Selkie, North Karelia, Finland. Western Finnish members organized their own network in Pirkanmaa.
In 2017-2018 the Landscape Rewilding Programme emerged as a vehicle to advance large-scale actions of return of biodiversity, re-establishment of community governance of lands and support of carbon sinks in the north. Since this, the LRP has grown each year and is now an international action on Indigenous and community -led revitalization of lands and villages. Many of the sites in the programme have been registered as Indigenous and community conserved sites – ICCAs.
Snowchange wishes to thank all past and present members, supporters, allies and partners. Without the villages, Indigenous and traditional leaders, fishermen, hunters, reindeer herders, women involved in all aspects of the work, Elders, and steadfast guidance of the permanent staff we would not have this magical network of people and places across the world. We wish to recognize the new generation of staff members dedicated to the Snowchange daily work across the world, including Lauri Hämäläinen, who works as a fisherman and restoration specialist in North Karelia, Antoine Scherer, our resident ecologist and Focal Point for ICCA issues, Noora Huusari, a specialist on the questions of environmental policy, fisheries and Koitajoki and Dr. Brie Van Dam in Alaska, our atmospheric and terrestrial ecologist. Many young Indigenous co-researchers across the world, such as Petteri Feodoroff and Kaisja Semenoja, to name our Skolt Sámi staff, are equally crucial to the daily operational capacity. These younger people represent a new generation of Snowchange staff and coordinators and will see the organisation grows and evolves towards 21st century challenges.
Finally, we continue to recognize and celebrate the life work of our Finnish Elder, Eero Murtomäki, a steadfast supporter together with his wife Rita Lukkarinen on all aspects of the Snowchange work across the years just like we thank all Elders across the years on the support and wisdom.
We will celebrate the 20 years of work across the Planet in 2020-2021 with a hopeful culmination in Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions 2021 in Western Siberia, provided logistics and the global situation allows. Watch this space for major announcements across the year and beyond. We look forwards to the next 20 years with you, and beyond!