For decades, Sheila Watt-Cloutier has been fighting for the right to be cold, not only for Inuit in the Arctic, but for the entire world.

However now, as temperatures continue to rise, the nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on climate change and Indigenous rights, believes it is time everyone started taking action because "what's happening in the Arctic doesn't just stay in the Arctic, it connects every one of us, no matter where we live," she said. 

As the Arctic melts, weather patterns around the world are thrown into chaos.

"We see the tornadoes that are much more intense, and the hurricanes and the floods and the wildfires in our own country here that are all connected to what is happening in the Arctic," she said.

Climate change is no longer a topic to be discussed and debated only by economists, politicians and scientists, said Watt-Cloutier, the author of the memoir The Right to Be Cold, a 2017 Canada Reads finalist.

"As a civil society, as parents, grandparents, young people, we need to ensure that our leaders are addressing this in the way that they need to so that the next generations to come will have that healthy environment and a planet that is still giving to us in so many ways," she said.


Sheila Watt-Cloutier discusses the switch from dog teams to snow machines and the impact that had on Inuit cultural in her memoir 'The Right to Be Cold.' The book is one of the five finalists for the 2017 Canada Reads debates. Watt-Cloutier is speaking in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Wednesdaay March 1 about her decades long fight to stop climate change. (Nathaniel Wilder/Reuters )

Individual efforts are necessary and laudable, said Watt-Cloutier, but the world is at the point where strong leadership is required to make global decisions "because it's in the larger issues of politics and industry that the major changes have to be made to make a difference to emissions."

"We can all do something for sure but let's put our minds and hearts together as a common humanity to really address this issue," she said.

CBC Thunder Bay is hosting a free Canada Reads event Wednesday March 1 at 7 p.m. at the Waverley Resource Library auditorium.

Watt-Cloutier will be reading from her book, and taking questions from the audience.

The event is open to the public.