Around 20 rural communities around Norway were being branded as petty and divisive heading into the weekend, because of their announced plans to boycott the country’s major annual television fundraiser on Sunday. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is the organization selected to receive funds raised to help rid the seas of plastics, but several rural politicians despise WWF because it also wants to protect forests and Norway’s wolf population.
Local officials in districts from Bygland in the south to Beiarn in the north vehemently oppose WWF’s conservation efforts and would rather be able to cut down trees and kill off most predators. Even though WWF was chosen as fundraiser beneficiary this year because of its efforts to save sea life from pollution and illegal dumping, some local politicians can’t bring themselves to take part.
That has upset state government officials like Environment Minister Sveinung Rotevatn, who can’t understand why so many local officials won’t join efforts to rid the seas of plastics. “That’s what the money will go towards, nothing else,” Rotevatn told NRK, which broadcasts the fundraiser live every year. “It seems like they have a huge need to turn everything into predator politics.”
Newspaper Fædrelandsvennen in Kristiansand was among those editorializing against the regional boycotts, calling the fundraiser “an important and traditional collective effort in our country.” A boycott will only undermine that, the paper wrote.
Tynset Mayor Merete Myhre Moen defended the boycott on the grounds she and her colleagues, most of whom represent the district-friendly Center Party that promotes wolf hunts, simply lack confidence in WWF. She said local residents prefer to donate money to other organizations that also promote cleaner seas.
NRK itself pointed out that 335 other local governments around Norway are not boycotting the fundraiser and are instead keen “to support a good cause.” WWF leader Karoline Andaur said she had hoped Norwegians would set aside their politics and simply contribute to that cause.