Norway’s Environmental Battle

by Isabell M. Grønnslett

Currently, one of the biggest political discussions in Norway is whether or not we should open for oil drilling in the northern part of Norway (Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja).

On January 30, the Labour Party’s (AP) programme committee announced that they are in favor of an impact assessment of oil exploration.

Environmental activists in Norway know this is not a good idea. An oil accident in that area will have catastrophic consequences for Norway, its environment and economy. In fact, Lofoten is our most important fishing resource and therefore an oil drilling accident would be devastating, since fish and fish products is the second largest export commodity in Norway.

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From the demonstration outside the Norwegian Parliament on Saturday, February 23. Photo: Folkeaksjonen

This year, 2013, is an election year in Norway, and since not all political parties are against the drilling, this is a very important fight for environmentalists to win. Our goal is to raise people’s awareness on this subject before they vote!

Last Saturday, I participated in a demonstration outside the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo to raise awareness and bring this issue to attention to people and politicians.

Olje demo 2
There were a lot of activist showing up to fight for the environment! Photo: Folkeaksjonen

It began with appeals from different environmental organizations and ended with everyone making a lot of noise to “get attention.” We shouted slogans, blew whistles, played on drums and some homemade instruments.

Not only did this happen in Norway’s capital, Oslo, but it happened in more than 70 places in Norway the same day! In different cities, all over in Norway, there were huge bonfires. It is a symbol that when this is done, it means that danger is afoot.

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One of many bonfires that took place on Saturday. This is from Radøy (near Bergen). Photo: Folkeaksjonen

This was well-covered by the media and on Facebook, so we got the media attention we were hoping for. We hope more people are now aware of the dangers of drilling for oil in Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja.

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