Calling attention to climate emergency, Lapland town Salla launches parody bid for 2032 Summer Olympics

Salla is one of the coldest towns in northern Finland. (Screenshot from the campaign film/YouTube)
“Please, don’t let these games happen,” municipal authorities in Salla write in their call to host the 2032 Summer Olympics.

The town in eastern Lapland, a stone’s throw away from the border with Russia’s Kola Peninsula, is normally marketing itself as the coldest place in Finland.

In a brilliant campaign film, like only the Finns can make, parody athletes exercise a range of summer sports in the freezing cold snowy nature in the area: beach volleyball, swimming, biking, surfing and running.

Under the slogan “Salla 2032 – summer games candidate city” locals from the municipality with 3,491 inhabitants explain that thanks to carbon dioxide, the snow will be sand so beach volleyball will be possible.

Dipping into the water, an ice-cream eating man says “in 12 years ice will be gone and this will be a perfect lake for [for swimming].”

Published earlier this week, the promotional video (see below) has gone viral and Salla’s parody Olympic Summer bid now makes headlines worldwide.

The town’s campaign site,, calls on people to understand the urgent need to take climate actions now.

“Despite the obviousness of Global Warming, the ideology of Climate Change Denial is gaining traction all over the world and increasing every year. So we’ve created this bid to raise attention about the climate emergency,” the site reads.

“Salla is changing. The whole planet is changing. Not in a good way.

“2032 will be a turning point in the battle against Global Warming. We either act now or our legacy to the next generation will be a worse planet than the one we met and we arrived to.”

The Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the world

The town’s Facebook site promotes the mascot for the Summer Olympics bid, a reindeer named Kesa.

There are some 10,000 reindeer in the wilderness around the municipality.

Reindeer in northern Scandinavia have a hard time finding food in times of climate change. With winters getting warmer, the snow melts and freezes, creating a think layer of ice, again making it harder for the animals to dig through.

There was no such thing before. When winter came, it came, the mascot explains.

Salla’s Mayor, Erkki Parkkinen, explains it in short: “Please, don’t let this game happen. If Salla is saved, the world is saved.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Climate change creating vast new glacial lakes, with risk of ‘gargantuan’ floods, researcher says, The Canadian Press

Greenland: Rise in sea level from ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica match worst-case scenario: study, CBC News

Iceland: Arctic Science Ministerial postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Record November warmth in Svalbard, Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Shocking temperatures across the Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish MEP ‘extremely happy’ with EU vote to cut emissions by 60 percent, Radio Sweden

United States: Bering Sea ice at lowest extent in at least 5,500 years, study says, Alaska Public Media

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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