Theater of Cruelty

The right to be cold

Should the Inuit be sacrificed for our welfare?


All over the world, there are clear traces of the announced climate change – and the changes will become more visible over time. What is going to happen we can get an insight into by looking to the north and the tough societies that are fighting for survival in the Arctic. These societies today are experiencing the climate changes we others will experience in 25-30 years. And what is happening in the Arctic should scare the minds of most people. Norwegian climate scientists and climate experts can claim that American scientists like Robert Corell are far too radical. It may be that they are. But ask the people of Iqaluit where the temperature this fall has been four to five degrees above the average temperature for the season. In Iqaluit, they do not need researchers to understand that something serious is going on.

For the 150.000 Inuit people living in the Arctic, climate change is a serious threat to culture and society. For more than 5000 years, the Inuit have lived in interaction with the icy and nature cycle. They have used ice as their main artery from home and out to the places where they could fetch food through hunting. It was the ice that made it possible to travel, they used the ice as a building material and not least it was on the ice that this year's most important hunting took place. But now this way of life is threatened. There have been dramatic changes in recent years to the Inuit's ability to use the ice as a hunting area. The disappearance of ice is not only a problem for humans, but also for the animals. Not least, this is a threat to the polar bear that can no longer hunt for seals and other animals it must obtain in order to survive. The Arctic ecosystems are threatened by the melting ice. Using ice as a transport ground is dangerous. The weather has also become unpredictable, and it often happens that houses disappear into the sea where there was previously a lot of ice and safe ground.

Inuit organization ICC (Inuit Circumpolar Conference) points out that large parts of the changes can be directly linked to climate change, and this can be documented through the ACIA report.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chair of the ICC – which has members from Canada, Greenland, Russia and Alaska – is now focusing on this challenge by challenging the United States and other states to do something about climate change. Watt-Cloutier says that this is also a question of human rights. With that, the ICC makes it clear that US policy – which has been to prevent the implementation of the Kyoto agreement and otherwise reject all climate prophecies as fabrications – is a clear violation of international human rights agreements.

She is largely supported by Robert Corell, who has led the ACIA ("The Arctic Impact Assessment Study"). He points out that climate change in the Arctic is dramatic and has global significance. The more than 1100-page ACIA climate report presented a few days ago is an interesting and frightening read.

Here, what is happening in the Arctic is documented, and with this colossus in hand, no one – not even the United States – will be able to claim that climate change is not man-made.

The ACIA report already started a fierce debate a year ago because it documents that the world is heading for a difficult climate. A time that will cost communities their livelihoods, and people will be forced to relocate in order to survive.

With the ACIA report on the table just before the climate negotiations began in Montreal, it has succeeded in making climate change in the Arctic a central theme.

The report does not provide an answer to how we solve the challenges here and now – it is something that the individual country and the individual society must take on. And here climate pigs such as the USA, the EU and Norway will have to realize that it does not hold up with nice words and difficult concepts such as climate quotas and CO2 banks.

If the rich countries do not realize that they have to change their habits, then we can soon summarize that the Inuit culture and the Inuit disappeared in the steam from a warmer climate.

You may also like