The Holistic Effects of Climate Change on the Culture, Well-Being, and Health of the Saami, the Only Indigenous People in the European Union

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

  • Heikki Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi
  • Jouni Jaakkola
  • Suvi Juntunen


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: (1) To develop a framework for understanding the holistic effects of climate change on the Saami people; (2) to summarize the scientific evidence about the primary, secondary, and tertiary effects of climate change on Saami culture and Sápmi region; and (3) to identify gaps in the knowledge of the effects of climate change on health and well-being of the Saami. RECENT FINDINGS: The Saami health is on average similar, or slightly better compared to the health of other populations in the same area. Warming climate has already influenced Saami reindeer culture. Mental health and suicide risk partly linked to changing physical and social environments are major concerns. The lifestyle, diet, and morbidity of the Saami are changing to resemble the majority populations posing threats for the health of the Saami and making them more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Climate change is a threat for the cultural way of life of Saami. Possibilities for Saami to adapt to climate change are limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211
JournalCurrent Environmental Health Reports
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)401-417
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
MoEC publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal