Dear Mark Zuckerberg

Helene Ødven.
Helene Ødven. Foto: André Marton Pedersen

Dear Mark Zuckerberg

It has come to our attention that you may be among those who are planning to buy some of the electric power that is meant to be produced by wind turbines in our precious mountains in Norway. According to rumour you are preoccupied that your company, Facebook, should be considered by the public as green and environmental friendly.

We who have grown up in this area, and furthermore are avid users of the nature that surrounds us, would like to invite you to Norway and show you that the green power that you believe you are going to buy, is nothing but an illusion. An illusion and a betrayal.

If we are to produce this power for you and other buyers, Norwegian nature on an enormous scale will be forever destroyed.

We believe that you cannot be aware of this, and we trust that however distant they may be from your homeplace, this is not what you wish for these mountains.

On your arrival in Norway we will bring you on a fantastic hike in this wonderful area. Winter or summer, we leave it to you to decide. The mountains are equally attractive whatever time of the year you may choose.

We will guide you up steep hills, over ridges where rabbits run and foxes hunt. We will take you through the forests and up to the barren plateaus where the landscape has been formed by wind and water. Past shining lakes and across singing rivers we will take you up to naked peaks with wonderful panoramic views. In the distance you will be able to see ships plying the fjords, thriving villages with busy people, farmland cultivated through the generations. Maybe an eagle floating on the winds, or a flock of grouse escaping further into the wild. We believe that you too will sense the connection with the past, with who we once used to be. Hunters and gatherers living in harmony with nature, harvesting its riches but otherwise leaving it to itself.

We have made ourselves masters of all this, with the power to destroy and deplete. More often than not because of greed. In the relatively short period of time that has elapsed since we were primitive hunters and in many ways as vulnerable as the prey we used to hunt, we have become a formidable threat to every living creature, including ourselves. We have put creation itself at risk. We don’t know if the planet can take anymore before it collapses.

In our mountains engineers are planning massive construction work that will turn our wilderness into industry.

Swamp will become roads, peaks will be flattened, lakes will be filled with rock and rubble. Ecosystems will be ruined, birds, some of them threatened, will be knocked to death, deer, foxes and rabbits will have their habitat reduced even more. Important nature will be destroyed, natural diversity will suffer.

No, we are not ignorant of the dangers that climate change are posing, but to us it is obvious that we cannot repair ruined nature by ruining even more nature. Nature, and the natural diversity, has to be part of the solution to the climate threat. And there is a lot we can do instead of forever destroying our mountains. We can use less power, we can modernize our old and ineffective hydro powerplants, we can build small but efficient wind powerplants in our cities, we can cover our rooftops with tiles that produce solar power and we can put our windmills in the ocean. Pioneers and groundbreaking at offshore oilproduction we have the technology and the expertise.

Some people will argue that offshore windmills are too complicated and too expensive. Onshore windmills are cheaper and more profitable. Well, do you know, Mark Zuckerberg, that there is one reason why it’s cheaper to put them on mountaintops. It is because the value of our nature is zero. We all know the value of nature, it has been documented in countless studies, of course, but in a monetary sense, it has no value. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that something as precious as the mountains, for wildlife first and foremost, but also for the Norwegian people and our way of life, has no value and could be exploited for all kinds of purposes.

Our nature, attracting tourists from every corner of the world, vital for Norway as a tourist destination, today and in the future, held in so little esteem by our authorities, that we can justify it being turned into industry. We, the authors of this letter, can hardly believe what we are seeing. Most of those who are active users of the mountains, understand just as little. As does the tourist industry.

We trust that you, Mark Zuckerberg, will be as perplex as we are after a guided hike in our magnificent mountains. For free we will show you around. One day or several, it is up to you to decide. For us this issue is so vital that we willingly will spend a week or more in order to show you the diversity, the varied landscapes and the riches we have found in these mountains. They are riches that we hope can also be enjoyed by coming generations.

Because the mountains are more than just mountains, they ar part of our cultural heritage, part of our collective identity. We might not own them legally, but still we all feel like owners. Thus we can find ourselves sitting on the top of a mountain, looking across a landscape that is untouched by man all the way to the fjord, thinking that “all of this is mine”.

If you choose to come here, Mark Zuckerberg, we will willingly share this feeling with you, the feeling of being the richest man on earth.

Best regards, Bergen and Hordaland Trekking Association