The Right to Be Cold

The Right to Be Cold

One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet

Book - 2016
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Now in paperback, one of Canada's most passionate environmental and human rights activists addresses the global threat of climate change from the intimate perspective of her own Arctic childhood

The Arctic ice is receding each year, but just as irreplaceable is the culture, the wisdom that has allowed the Inuit to thrive in the Far North for so long. And it's not just the Arctic. The whole world is changing in dangerous, unpredictable ways. Sheila Watt-Cloutier has devoted her life to protecting what is threatened and nurturing what has been wounded. In this culmination of Watt-Cloutier's regional, national, and international work over the last twenty-five years, The Right to Be Cold explores the parallels between safeguarding the Arctic and the survival of Inuit culture, of which her own background is such an extraordinary example. This 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 to become one of the most influential and decorated environmental, cultural, and human rights advocates in the world.
Publisher: Toronto :, Penguin,, 2016
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780143187646
Branch Call Number: 921 WAT
Characteristics: xxii, 337 pages ; 21 cm


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Jun 20, 2017

The author is a passionate voice for the Inuit people on the subject of climate change and how it is affecting the Artic and the way of life for the Inuit. I found it very enlightening and admire the author for her work. She addresses the social problems we see in their communities and gives possible solutions to resolve them.

Jun 15, 2017

This book addresses the urgent issue of climate change. It is convincingly presented, as is the argument that everything is interconnected. Also, there is no doubt about the commitment of the author. However, the book goes into too much detail (for example, the names of people not mentioned again, itineraries, etc.). It is presented from the perspective of the author's actions, but would have been more effective if presented from the perspective of issues, not events. Some parts could have been summarized, especially actions which failed, with an analysis of why they did not succeed. The author's faith in the strategy of effecting change through political influence rather than more direct action is shown to be unfounded. Nevertheless, moving the issue of climate change to the human rights arena rather than focussing on economics is a useful contribution.

Mar 28, 2017

i hope it wins canada reads. the auther says children can read it so i'm in.

Mar 23, 2017

Probably not approachable enough to win Canada Reads, which is sad. It gets my vote.

Mar 13, 2017

This autobiography might have been more appropriately titled: My Life as an Inuit Woman. The title "The Right to be Cold" refers to the author's unsuccessful campaign to have the United States compelled to take action on global atmospheric warming because of the adverse impact on Inuit way of life in Alaska (and Canada). Earlier Watt-Cloutier was successful in campaigning for an international treaty for capping and reductions in the emissions of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that overwhelmingly harmed Inuit. For this advocacy she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The author makes a strong case for Inuit people to recover their subsistence way of life while adopting those features of "southern" lifestyle (such as Internet and modern hospitals) on their own terms. The book ends with an index. Readers would have benefited from a Glossary of Acronyms as an appendix.

bibliotechnocrat Mar 01, 2016

This book begins as a straight-up memoir of Inuit life at the moment of great transition from a traditional hunting culture to what we think of as modernity. Parts of it are shocking, tragic, and reveal shameful actions on the part of Canada's government. This narrative beginning gives context to the drive for change the author clearly demonstrates as the text then shifts to more overt political activism. Watt-Cloutier couches the climate-change argument in human terms, seeing it as a human rights issue; a point of view that resonates powerfully. Well worth your time.

Feb 10, 2016

Just because of who the author of this book is I really, really, wanted to enjoy this book.

BUT I found it rather difficult to enjoy the continuous descriptions of the hunt, the kill then feasting on a dead blood soaked animal's parts. Yuck!

If that appeals to the reader by all means have at it. For me it became just too much killing and blood and not enough of anything else to sustain it.

Apr 22, 2015

This book is a damning indictment of what we in the South have done to the Great White North. They are the canary in the cold mine (pun intended), and seeing their land literally melting away into nothingness should shame us all. Except for skeptics, of course, who would not dignify even a free trip to see it for themselves. Everyone who can afford it should get two copies - one for him or herself, and the other sent by post to any US Senator that denies climate change.


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Mar 14, 2017

"Often when I prepared country food, my hands fully covered in blood, I would think that those who garden in the South must feel the same, their hands covered in the soil in which their vegetables grow. Source is source, whether it is the blood of the animals we hunt and eat, or the soil in which we grow our food. All comes from the same place." (p. 137) "... I told [a] filmmaker that I would have him eating 'muttaq' [whale skin with a layer of blubber below] before he left. He quickly responded, 'Oh, I can't do that. I have too much of an affinity for dolphins and whales to eat them.' Without a second thought, I responded, 'Ah, but we [Inuit] too have an affinity for whales, which is why we eat them.'" (p. 248)

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