Renewing climate justice with Snowchange Cooperative

Renewing climate justice with Snowchange Cooperative

Snowchange Cooperative is reversing climate change using scalable, nature-based solutions led by Finland’s indigenous Sámi, with pro bono and financial support from Hogan Lovells.

The silence was deafening. Once rustling with biodiversity, ecosystems across Finland are suffering from the impact of climate change which is wiping out biodiversity, and the ancient traditions which for so long have supported them. Though these threats continue, rewilding efforts offer hope.

Nurturing climate justice and indigenous rights

For over 20 years, Snowchange Cooperative (Snowchange) has partnered with indigenous people groups and local traditional communities across the globe in the cause of climate justice. Through nature-based rewilding, the organization has helped renew biodiversity and create carbons sinks that reverse the trajectory of climate change and allow local traditions to thrive in harmony with nature.

At the intersection of conservation and human rights, Snowchange looks to the wisdom of earth’s original stewards – our indigenous peoples. Their voices are heard more clearly than ever and have a seat at the table in places like UN Climate Change Conference COP.

Founder and scientist Tero Mustonen is growing Snowchange’s indigenous network with the support of partner universities and Hogan Lovells. With our pro bono legal and financial support, Snowchange’s critical work has continued – starting with a Finnish local community and a former peat extraction site in Finland’s Linnunsuo wetland, and now focusing on a new project in the indigenous Sámi boreal forests.

Cultivating a sustainable future for all

In 2022, we began funding new indigenous-led rewilding efforts in the northern boreal forests in partnership with Snowchange. These boreal endemic species are benefitting significantly from these actions and in 2022, several new species to science were found in the OGF forests in the Sámi area. One year on, we have made strides to positively affect the landscape and preserve the existing biodiversity.

This 150 hectares-plus site represents the many ecosystems affected by climate change; its conservation protects not only native wildlife and foliage, but humans as well. These forests provide rich and critical resources for the survival of approximately 1,000 local reindeer and other animals. Alongside these creatures are nearly 100 reindeer herders and owners whose business creates a thriving economy for up to 700 people. Stewarding this ecosystem has major effects for the native Muddusjärvi Sámi and communities – and impacts us all.

“Collaboration and transformative action in the Arctic boreal forests addresses three simultaneous solutions at once – rich carbon storages, supporting the largest wild natural forest ecosystems in Europe, and helping Europe's only Indigenous peoples – the Sámi. It’s hard to think of more valuable support than this,” said Tero.

Wherever climate justice is ignored, the habitat and livelihood of local groups are impacted, but it doesn’t end there. While acute effects are most felt by these vulnerable groups, the responsibility often lies elsewhere in the industrialized world. The consequences of climate change reveal the links between seemingly separate communities; however, it shows that we are also connected in the benefits of rewilding. Together, we can create a sustainable future for all.

Image courtesy of Snowchange Cooperative


Up to 1000 reindeer

protected in these arctic boreal forests, culturally, and economically significant to the indigenous Sámi community

Up to 700

people positively impacted in the wider community


of the world’s remaining soil carbon contained in these forests, now deemed Carbon Stabilization Areas and significant sinks