“The Right to Be Cold” is a cross-border, interdisciplinary project focusing on the Arctic and Boreal regions: It negotiates questions of indigenous rights, ecology, climate justice and culture. To this end, voices from different perspectives are heard on this website. They all deal with climate change, which is fundamentally challenging and changing northern living conditions.
At the centre of the project is a circumpolar relay of residencies planned for 2021. “The Right to be Cold” is a joint project of the Goethe-Institutes in Helsinki, Montreal, Novosibirsk and Oslo.
The conception of the website as well as the contributions are done in cooperation with our advisory board, which consists of experts from the respective regions. The experts write essays, identify other interview partners and set topics. This close cooperation and exchange are essential for the website.
To the Advisory Board
The Residency Relay
Another focus of this page will be the residency relay, which is the origin of the project and is scheduled to take place in summer 2021. Participants from different disciplines will have the opportunity to exchange ideas on Indigenous rights, ecology, climate justice and culture with local communities in Nunavik, Finland, Yakutia, Norway and Sápmi and other participants at two residence locations each. During these residencies, participants create their own artwork and research projects, which we also publish on this website.
To the Residency Relay
The Name “The Right to be Cold”
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.