Canadian Inuit leaders are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other world leaders meeting in Copenhagen in December to ratify an agreement that will stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at 350 parts per million. This is what is needed, Inuit leaders say, to avoid catastrophic change in the Arctic ecosystem. Their call to action states “The Arctic has warmed at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the world over the last century, and scientists predict that warming trends in the Arctic will continue to outpace other regions.”
The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), which represents Inuit from Canada, Russia, Greenland and the U.S., has six clear commitments it wants from global leaders meeting in Copenhagen. As well as stabilizing greenhouse gases at 350 ppm, they call for deeper cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, an international fund dedicated to climate change adaptation, inclusion of Inuit traditional knowledge when forming policy, and support for green energy technology. The ICC also want avoidance of climate change impacts on the Arctic as one of the benchmarks for the effectiveness of a new climate change treaty.
The Inuit are already feeling the effects of climate change. They are forced to find new safe routes through sea ice and weather that are less predictable than they used to be; they are noticing birds, plants, and fish from the south appearing in the north; and permafrost is melting under their feet. As Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier says, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change is a human rights issue and countries need to stop making excuses. The Inuit take issue with Prime Minister Harper’s excuses for not taking action in Copenhagen and say its time to get serious about stopping climate change.
Click here to here Sheila Watt-Cloutier speak on climate change and human rights.
There is still a window of opportunity to save the Arctic – we need to join together in a people powered movement to demand world leaders take climate change seriously.
To send a message to the world leaders meeting in Copenhagen, go to 350.org and sign the “I am ready” petition. Or visit Hopenhagen.org and sign their UN climate petition. Get informed. Write your local leaders. Join the “Meatless Monday” movement to combat climate change. Spread the word.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead, American anthropologist, 1901 – 1978