The Right to Be Cold

The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet  by Sheila Watt-Cloutier.

This is the first book that I’ve completed for the Canadian Book Challenge!!

This is the story of Watt-Cloutier’s life and work in the Arctic, as she grew up an Inuk in Nunavik. (I’ll stop right here and admit that I didn’t know where Nunavik was, so I looked it up and found out that it’s the northern part of Quebec. Now I know!). This book provides an in-depth look at her work over the last twenty-five years. In the book she talks about her feelings of growing up in a safe and loving environment, of losing some of her culture and language as a child when she went away to school, of returning to her home and family, and of her tireless work as an adult to raise national and international awareness for the changes in the climate that affect the Inuit so greatly. The ice is melting which changes how they can do the things they’ve done for generations…things they need to do in order to survive! Here’s a quote from the book

…ice is something that people depend on not just for survival but to thrive. Indeed, the idea of “the right to be cold” is less relatable than “the right to water” for many people…Because as hard as it is for many people to understand, for us Inuit, ice matters. Ice is life.” (page 258)

The right to be cold, for the Inuit, is the right to have their needs met so they can continue to practice their way of life and culture, their connection to nature and all living creatures.

I found this book to be interesting, and the first non-fiction book I’ve read about Arctic climate change. As someone who has never been to the Arctic, I find it interesting to discover how dependent the Inuit are on ice, that even the slightest  change in the thickness of the ice can change where they are able to travel or not travel to hunt/fish the food that they need to survive. What an eye-opening book for me! I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking to learn a little more about another section of our vast country.

*My progress for this Challenge is 1/13!


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