Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Canadian Trying To Save Inuit People From Effects Of Global Warming

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a Canadian activist living in the Arctic north, is among 181 nominees for this year's Nobel Prize. She has spent the last 12 years fighting to protect Inuit people and the region threatened by global warming and climate change.

"It's been a long haul and a daunting task to get the message out," she said. "When you're 155,000 people at the top of the world, there aren't very many people who even know who you are or what you're facing."

Watt-Cloutier, born in Kuujjuaq up in northern Quebec Arctic, attended schools in Nova Scotia and Manitoba before graduating from McGill University in Montreal. Then she worked in public health and education as well as being an interpreter since she was fluent in English, French and the Inuit language of Inuktitut. She became president of Canada's branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference in 1995. After this post, she started her efforts against global warming.

"The sea-ice season is a lot shorter than it used to be. And as a result we have less time to hunt on the ice ...," she said. "What you see on the surface is no longer what it is underneath. The Arctic sink is warming from under, and the ice is changing from under as well. So the rules have all changed and so has the wisdom we pass on to our young people. Many of our elders are being stumped by it, because it is so unpredictable."

For more articles on the Arctic north, see Inuit Culture. Also see Inuit Art.

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