Biographical essay The Right to be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
The Right to Be Cold is a human story of resilience, commitment, and survival told from the unique vantage point of an Inuk woman who, in spite of many obstacles, rose from humble beginnings in the Arctic community of Kuujjuaq, Quebec—where she was raised by a single parent and grandmother and travelled by dog team in a traditional, ice-based Inuit hunting culture—to become one of the most influential and decorated environmental, cultural, and human rights advocates in the world.
The Right to Be Cold explores the parallels between safeguarding the Arctic and the survival of Inuit culture—and ultimately the world—in the face of past, present, and future environmental degradation. Sheila Watt-Cloutier passionately argues that climate change is a human rights issue and one to which all of us on the planet are inextricably linked. The Right to Be Cold is the culmination of Watt-Cloutier’s regional, national, and international work over the last twenty-five years, weaving historical traumas and current issues such as climate change, leadership, and sustainability in the Arctic into her personal story to give a coherent and holistic voice to an important subject.
The book was translated into French in 2019 under the title Le droit au froid.
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, The Right to be Cold, Toronto, Allen Lane, 2015, 336 p.