After spotting a Grist Magazine article about a climate change-induced human rights claim, and then a story last week from Scientific American about International Polar Year, I thought it was time to mention the effect of global warming on humans.
The human climate change link is not often considered, but Inuit people launched a human rights petition in 2005 against the Bush administration for US emissions causing global warming. They are claiming violation of their human rights with 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, championing their cause.
Inuit survival is being affected by contaminated water sources, their ability to hunt and travel is impaired, and ice and snow have melted and caused isolation. They are also being poisoned by permanent organic pollutants (POPs) in the food they eat, carried north by atmospheric and ocean currents and probably also in bird droppings.
Luckily March 1st saw the start of International Polar Year during which 460 projects coming from 63 countries will record information about the Earth’s poles before they change for good. This will be especially useful if, as a recent news story suggests, the US government is restricting Fish and Wildlife Service officials’ ability to comment on climate change, sea ice and particularly polar bears.
It would be naive to think that shifting the focus from species loss to human troubles would be enough to have a profound effect on our behaviour, but we can hope…
Search CAB Direct with terms such as global warming, Inuit and polar bear, and for further information read this or this.