The Sophie Prize 2005 is thus awarded to Ms Watt-Cloutier for her tireless effort to draw the world´s attention to the devastating human effects of climate change and emissions of toxic chemicals. As Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference she has given a human face and a human right´s perspective to the destruction of the environment. The entoxified environment and rapidly melting ice in polar areas not only impact eco-systems, but also individuals and the Inuit culture itself. “The Arctic is the world’s barometer of climate change. We are the early warning system for the world”. She adds: “What is happening to us now will happen to others further south in years to come.” As the recently concluded Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) concludes, the Arctic and its peoples are at great risk as a result of global climate change.
In 2001 she was instrumental in persuading nations of the need for a convention to eliminate toxic chemicals (POPs). She is now petitioning the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleging that destruction of the Inuit way of life as a result of emission of greenhouse gases by the United States is a violation of the collective rights of Inuit.
Read the Jury’s statement in full