We had a busy day yesterday. We started by having lunch with John Ralston Saul, Adrienne Clarkson and Sheila Watt-Cloutier. There's a flurry of activitiy in Iqaluit these days, with Sheila giving the 9th Annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium lecture this evening, which will be webcast live on IsumaTV (see tab to the right).
As most of you will know, Sheila is an Inuit climate change activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, who is well known for her advocacy regarding climate change as a human rights issue. As president of the International Circumpolar Conference, she began discussing how climate change was adversely affecting the culture and life ways of Inuit, and claimed that countries like the US who have done little to curb their greenhouse gas emissions are actually violating international human rights. It is a provocative stance that puts a human face on climate change.
Sheila told us how the elders on the land are wise. They sit back and listen and are never quick to raise their voice. However, as the world is changing at a rapid pace, a new generation of Inuit must become vocal and aggressive to protect the people of the circumpolar north. As we document the dramatic ways that climate change is affecting the Arctic, it is apparent that climate change is indeed a human rights issue.