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The Right To Be Cold © Susanne Hætta

The Right To Be Cold¹

The cross-border interdisciplinary project The Right To Be Cold focuses on the arctic and boreal region. The initiative, which mainly takes the form of a circumpolar chain of residencies and a virtual exchange in 2021, embraces issues relating to indigenous knowledge, ecology, climate justice and culture. The overarching theme is climate change, which is fundamentally challenging and changing living conditions in the northern regions.  

Environmental crimes especially violate Indigenous rights. For Indigenous societies, environmental destruction is also a cultural, linguistic and economic danger.

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen

Ounasjoki river in October, when the reindeers are taken to the other side of Ounasjoki for the winter © Tanja Koistinen


Often unheard, but more important than ever: essays, debates, interviews with regional experts.

The place of the residency in Garegasnjerga, Sapmi. © private

Residency Relay

Central to the project “The Right To Be Cold” was a circumpolar chain of residencies.

¹ The title of the project comes from the long battle of Inuit to have their rights linked to climate change. The book of the same name by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (2015, Allen Lane Publication), testifies of her pioneering work in connecting climate change to human rights with the Inuit legal petition she and 62 fellow Inuit from Canada and Alaska launched to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights in Washington DC in 2005. Inuit leaders and climate change activists use this expression to capture their struggle and hope for political leaders to realize their communities are being severely impacted by climate change. Although the Commission did not go ahead with the Inuit petition they did have a historical hearing on the legal impacts and connections between climate change and human rights. Okalik Eegeesiak, Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) used the expression in her discourse at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 21 December 3, 2015 in Paris, France: “Climate change is not just an environmental issue it is a human rights issue and the melting of the Arctic is impacting all aspects of Inuit life, therefore, the final text must make the rights of Indigenous peoples operative and keep it in Article 2.2. We have the right to be cold” argued Eegeesiak.