The Right to Be Cold | Penguin Random House Canada
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The Right to Be Cold

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

Publisher: Penguin Canada


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.


The world I was born into has changed forever.
     For the first ten years of my life, I travelled only by dog team. As the youngest child of four on our family hunting and ice fishing trips, I would be snuggled into warm blankets and fur in a box tied safely on top of the qamutiik, the dogsled. I...
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"Loss, suppression and ultimate rediscovery of voice are themes that run through this courageous and revelatory memoir."
—Naomi Klein, The Globe and Mail

"This is a book that needs to be read as the North becomes central to our future. It offers a perspective grounded in the culture and wisdom of northern people, seen through the lens of a remarkable woman as they seek to preserve 'The Right to be Cold.'" 
—Lloyd Axworthy, academic, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee

"This is a moving and passionate story from a committed woman who has bridged the ice age to the digital age. Her sophisticated views on the environment and the way the world works from her engaged involvement are brilliant and convincing."
—The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, journalist and former Governor General