Ms. Sheila Watt-Cloutier
When she was growing up in an Inuit community in northern Quebec, Sheila Watt-Cloutier never rode anything faster than a dog sled.
Now the 50-year-old grandmother jets across the globe speaking out on environmental issues and warning of the impending catastrophe that is global warming.
Her people are witnessing first hand the devastating affects of climate change and its relentless assault on their traditional way of life.
And if there is one place on the planet where the effects of the "great warming" are immediately felt it is in the Arctic. As President of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (Canada) in 1995 and re-elected to the position on a full-time basis in1998, Watt-Cloutier represents some 155,000 Inuit in Canada, the USA, Russia and Greenland.
The minutest change in the Arctic changes everything, every eco system. The changes in climate have brought a lot more insects and bugs, and new species of birds never before seen in the arctic are appearing every year.
Watt-Cloutier is fully involved in United Nations work and has for years been working on the treaty to eliminate the use persistent organic pollutants, or POP's.
As President of ICC Canada, Ms. Watt-Cloutier maintains a seat on the international ICC executive council, working in cooperation with Inuit leaders from Greenland, Alaska and Chukotka (Russia). She also holds the position of Vice-President of the national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada.
Ms. Watt-Cloutier is now applying her vast experience at the international level. She is an effective spokesperson on a wide range of Arctic and Indigenous issues, and has made numerous presentations to governments and international bodies
Some 50 nations have signed on to the new treaty making it one of the fastest ratified UN treaties on record. But the global work to get there took some 15 years.
Watt-Cloutier is one of the environmental heroes featured in The Great Warming, a three-part documentary narrated by Alanis Morissette and Keanu Reeves, which premiers Earth Day, April 22, on the Discovery Channel.