Born in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, Siila Watt-Cloutier has early memories of travelling across the ice and snow by dogsled and feeling one with nature. Raised by two remarkable women — her mother and grandmother — Siila learned determination and survival skills before she was sent away to school in Nova Scotia and Manitoba in the Residential School system.
In this powerful Earth Day episode, Siila shares her experience of being torn from her home at age ten and how her healing process led her to become an advocate for community, culture and the environment, standing up to a world that has been limiting and negating her people’s way of life.
Sharing the impacts of toxins from afar on the health of her community, she discusses the connection between climate change and human rights. Siila has put a face to the issue of climate change, successfully influencing the Stockholm Convention and banning the manufacture and use of persistent organic pollutants — chemicals that ultimately pollute the Arctic food chain.
“We are all connected,” she says to Tony Chapman. “We share this atmosphere, these waters and this air. We share everything on this earth together — and we need to be doing things together.” This holistic approach is something she learned very young and is one she is teaching to young people today. It’s also taught in her book, The Right to Be Cold, which covers the effect of climate change on Inuit communities and is described as a love story to her people.
Believing we need to lead with our hearts and start feeling – rather than thinking – our way forward, Sheila shares powerful messages of action and promise to the younger generation, her community and all humans sharing this Earth.
Every week, Marketing Hall of Legends and Canadian Marketing and PR Hall of Fame inductee Tony Chapman hosts Chatter That Matters. In each episode, Tony chats with an inspiring person with the courage and conviction to overcome circumstances, chase their dreams, and change the world for the better.
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