“We really don’t want to have a summer Olympic Games here, what we want is real winters,” says the mayor of Salla.
The small and remote town of Salla, in Finnish Lapland, has become world famous thanks to an original campaign on social networks, with which it seeks to warn about climate change (which is hitting Spain and the whole planet) through a false bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.
The campaign, titled Salva Salla, Save the Planet, has gone viral and has already reached more than 250 million people through social networks and digital media around the world since its launch in late January. according to its promoters.
The main component of this initiative is a video full of irony and humor, in which real inhabitants of the town, aware of global warming, prepare for future Olympics by practicing summer sports, such as beach volleyball and surfing, on the snow and the ice.
“The heat is coming,” announces a girl running through a snowy landscape carrying the Olympic torch, while a young woman claims under a leaden sky – obviously exaggerating – that she has never seen the sun, but she will soon be able to see it.
The supposed Olympic candidacy also has its own official logo, in which snowy mountains that melt stand out, and with a mascot called Kesa (summer), represented by a reindeer stunned due to high temperatures to which it is not used.
And it is that Salla, of just 3,400 inhabitants, is located in the coldest region of Finland, within the Arctic Circle, where the thermometers can drop in winter to 45 degrees Celsius below zero and a thick layer of snow covers the landscape. most of the year.
The campaign, carried out by the Brazilian company Agencia Africa, uses the same sarcastic tone that the inhabitants of the remote Arctic town used to choose the official slogan that accompanies the municipal coat of arms a decade ago: “Salla, in the middle of nowhere.”
The situation in the Arctic
The mayor of Salla, Erkki Parkkinen, explained in an interview with the Efe agency that the crazy idea of launching the Olympic candidacy was born out of his community’s concern about the effects of global warming in the vulnerable Arctic region.
“We want to get people from all over the world to join our campaign, to get people, businesses and states to take more action to stop climate change,” said Parkkinen.
According to the mayor, the purpose of the Olympic movement is to unite people and nations without excluding anyone, values that coincide with those of this initiative. “If we want to do something to stop climate change, we need all the people and nations on the planet,” he declared. But what can an inhospitable and remote Lappish people teach the rest of the world?
According to the mayor of Salla, the initiative has more value precisely because it comes from a tiny place, since it “shows people around the world that even a small town or individual people can do something to stop climate change.”
The campaign is supported by the environmental movement Fridays for Future, started by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and other young people to educate policy makers that they must take drastic measures as soon as possible to stop the climate crisis.
According to experts, the Earth’s poles are the regions where global warming is accelerating the most, with increasing melting of the ice sheet during summers that does not fully recover its volume during winters.
Permafrost (the frozen layer of soil in the polar regions) houses a large amount of methane and carbon dioxide (CO2), so if it melts it would release millions of tons of gases into the atmosphere that would increase the greenhouse effect.
The mayor of Salla recognizes that global warming poses a serious threat to the traditional way of life of its inhabitants, based on reindeer herding, logging and winter tourism. “We really don’t want to have a summer Olympics here, what we want is real winters,” he says.