The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?  (Read 12820 times)

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« on: 27/02/2008 20:22:46 »
Source http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2003/dec/11/weather.climatechange

The Inuit people of Canada and Alaska are launching a human rights case against the Bush administration claiming they face extinction because of global warming.

By repudiating the Kyoto protocol and refusing to cut US carbon dioxide emissions, which make up 25% of the world's total, Washington is violating their human rights, the Inuit claim.

For their campaign they are inviting the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to visit the Arctic circle to see the devastation being caused by global warming.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the chairwoman of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, which represents all 155,000 of her people inside the Arctic circle, said: "We want to show that we are not powerless victims. These are drastic times for our people and require drastic measures."

The human rights case was announced at the climate talks in Milan, Italy, where 140 countries are trying to put the finishing touches to the Kyoto protocol, the first international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. The backing of Russia, which is hesitating about ratifying the agreement, is required to bring the protocol into force. The US is trying to persuade the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, not to sign the protocol.

The Inuit have no voice at the conference, since they are not a nation state, but Mrs Watt-Cloutier said: "We are already bearing the brunt of climate change - without our snow and ice our way of life goes. We have lived in harmony with our surroundings for millennia, but that is being taken away from us.

"People worry about the polar bear becoming extinct by 2070 because there will be no ice from which they can hunt seals, but the Inuit face extinction for the same reason and at the same time.

"This a David and Goliath story. Most people have lost contact with the natural world. They even think global warming has benefits, like wearing a T-shirt in November, but we know the planet is melting and with it our vibrant culture, our way of life. We are an endangered species, too."

Mrs Watt-Cloutier comes from Pangirtung, north of Iqaluit, in Canada. The entire area should already be ice-bound, and winter hunting would normally have begun, but in Frobisher Bay, the home of both polar bears and Inuit, the water is still clear. "We now have weeks of uncertainty about when the ice will come," she said. "In the spring the ice melts not at the end of June but weeks earlier. Sometimes the ice is so thin hunters fall through.

"The ocean is too warm. Our elders, who instruct the young on the ways of the winter and what to expect, are at a loss. Last Christmas after the ice had formed the temperature rose to 4C [39F] and it rained. We'd never known it before."

Among the problems the Inuit face is permafrost melting, which has destroyed the foundations of houses, eroded the seashore and forced people to move inland. Airport runways, roads and harbours are also collapsing.

The Washington-based commission, which is the Americas' equivalent of the European court of human rights, will be asked to rule against the US government but has no power to enforce any action. However, the Inuit believe the publicity the case will provide, particularly with hearings in Washington, will embarrass George Bush's government and educate US public opinion about the consequences of profligate ways of living.

"Europeans understand this issue but in America the public know little or nothing and politicians are in denial," Mrs Watt-Cloutier said. "We are hunters and we are trained to go for the heart. The heart of the problem is in Washington."

She hoped that by winning the case Inuit would win a voice at climate talks. "The Inuit people see me as one of the leaders, with the same status as the ministers here. As a nation we are badly affected by climate change, but in these negotiations we have no voice.

"We intend to get one so our representative can sit round the table with other ministers and demand action to save our people."



I shall be very interested to see the outcome of this action.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2010 14:06:57 by chris »


 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #1 on: 27/02/2008 21:16:52 »
I cannot see the action could work.

The problem is, even without going into questions about whether US actions are the primary cause of global warming, or whether global warming is taking place, and assuming both of those as given, there is still the problem as to whether this would then give cause for every indigenous people (the people's of the Amazon, the people's of Papua New Guinea, or wherever) to bring a claim against any government which they feel is impairing their traditional lifestyle.  This is a charter for the prohibition of all change, because change inevitably requires the destruction of yesterday for the creation of tomorrow.

In the extreme, one could even argue it becomes a charter for mining villagers to oppose the closing down of mines, because it will undermine their traditional lifestyle; but I accept that popular prejudice gives the 'noble savage' greater rights to retain his ancient and noble lifestyle than the vulgar villager.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #2 on: 27/02/2008 21:56:56 »
This is the sort of thing that makes human rights legislation such a farce - whose human rights take precedence? Those of the Inuit or those of people who claim the right to have electricity in their homes? The Inuit certainly have a prior claim as they have been in the region for 1500 years, but there are a lot more people who would claim the right to electricity.

(Incidentally, do a criminal's civil rights outweigh my civil right to be able to walk in the streets safely at night?)

I can't see the Inuit winning their case (there is also a group of Inuit taking action against several oil companies and a coal company for the same reasons) but it will be interesting to hear the court's summing up and any recommendations it makes.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #3 on: 27/02/2008 22:24:54 »
(Incidentally, do a criminal's civil rights outweigh my civil right to be able to walk in the streets safely at night?)

This is a meaningless statement.

A criminal is defined as someone who operates outside the law (note that operating outside the law is not the same as acting immorally), and so has reduced legal rights as a matter of course.  The degree to which they have reduced rights, and who you define as a criminal, and how much effort do you need to make that the person you accuse of being a criminal before you can remove their civil rights, are all somewhat complex questions.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #4 on: 27/02/2008 22:39:16 »
(Incidentally, do a criminal's civil rights outweigh my civil right to be able to walk in the streets safely at night?)

This is a meaningless statement.

A criminal is defined as someone who operates outside the law (note that operating outside the law is not the same as acting immorally), and so has reduced legal rights as a matter of course.  The degree to which they have reduced rights, and who you define as a criminal, and how much effort do you need to make that the person you accuse of being a criminal before you can remove their civil rights, are all somewhat complex questions.

But I think you understand what I'm getting at.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #5 on: 27/02/2008 22:42:49 »
This is the sort of thing that makes human rights legislation such a farce - whose human rights take precedence? Those of the Inuit or those of people who claim the right to have electricity in their homes? The Inuit certainly have a prior claim as they have been in the region for 1500 years, but there are a lot more people who would claim the right to electricity.

What do you call a human right, and who is to say that the Inuit have an inalienable right to their way of life (do any of us?).

I think the Inuit way of life is closer to 1,000 years old (maybe even less); as I believe (but do not have the information to hand, so may be wrong) that it only developed as the weather turned colder, the same cooling that drove the Viking settlers from Greenland, in the late middle ages (I wonder who the Vikings should have sued in order to be allowed to keep their way of life?).
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #6 on: 28/02/2008 07:58:24 »
I think we're both on the same wavelength here, George. Whose human rights take precedence when there is a clash?
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #7 on: 28/02/2008 13:47:21 »
I think we're both on the same wavelength here, George. Whose human rights take precedence when there is a clash?

I don't think it is a case of whose rights so much as which rights (although I do accept that who does play a part - as noted by the fact that the Inuit are allowed to continue to hunt whales on a small scale, whereas the rest of us have been forbidden this, and in this country, even the traditional pasttime of fox hunting has been outlawed - so sometimes 'who' does matter).

 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #8 on: 28/02/2008 15:44:40 »
I think we're both on the same wavelength here, George. Whose human rights take precedence when there is a clash?

I don't think it is a case of whose rights so much as which rights...

It still amounts to the same thing; i.e. which rights does this group claim? (Do the claims of this group take precedence over the claims of that group?)
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #9 on: 28/02/2008 18:08:03 »
I think we're both on the same wavelength here, George. Whose human rights take precedence when there is a clash?

I don't think it is a case of whose rights so much as which rights...

It still amounts to the same thing; i.e. which rights does this group claim? (Do the claims of this group take precedence over the claims of that group?)

In particular instances, it will amount to the same thing; the difference comes in the generality (does this group always have precedence over that group, or is it a case of win some, lose some?).
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #10 on: 28/02/2008 23:24:21 »
It will always amount to the same thing.

Subset A of the population are fighting for right 1
Subsets A & B are fighting for right 2
Subsets B & C are fighting for right 3

and so on.

So, right(1)=group(A), right(2)=group(A+B), right(3)=group(B+C)

It's simple set theory and matters not if group B is fighting for 2 rights. When referring to right 2 (which right) you are talking about the rights of group(A+B) (whose right).
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #11 on: 29/02/2008 00:44:07 »
It will always amount to the same thing.

Sorry, I think you misunderstood what I meant.

What I intended was that in each particular instance, it is true within the context of that particular instance (not that it is only true for some instances but not for others); but rather than when a collection of instances are taken together, it is not necessarily, and probably not normally, true.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #12 on: 29/02/2008 08:36:23 »
OK, I see what you were getting at now.
 

Offline Ozze

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #13 on: 08/03/2008 06:25:55 »
 What I find interesting is that China has contracted with Cuba to begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico while we can't. Europe is expanding generating electricity from nuclear power plants, but the United States is being held back by the same people who are pointing to Europes' smaller CO2 foot print.

Perhaps it is simpler that energy or "Global Warming". Perhaps, Global Warming is simply being used as a tool to push for world government. A Global Emergency requires a global governement. I know most nations don't believe it, especially Russia and China.

 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Will global warming wipe out the Inuit people?
« Reply #13 on: 08/03/2008 06:25:55 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums