The book Moral Ground, particularly the chapter “The Inuit Right to Culture Based on Ice and Snow” by Sheila Watt-Cloutier, gave me a whole new perspective on global warming. This chapter is spoken from an Inuit’s personal experience with the changing climate of the world and how it has lead to change and also a breakdown in their Arctic society. One can imagine that global warming causes harm to wildlife, health, glaciers, and sea levels; but it is so much more than that. To the Inuit this is ruining their entire community. I found it particularly interesting that not too long ago, these people often traveled by dog team on the ice and snow. However, this is rarely possible anymore due to the rising temperatures in the area. The Inuit people have always depended on the land, ice, and snow for their own cultural survival, and this is being taken away because of human-induced climate change.
The person elaborating on this particular issue in the book describes what they are doing in an attempt to solve this problem. On December 7, 2005, a group of sixty-three Inuit’s filed a legal complaint after concluding that the 1948 American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, supported by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, may equip an effective measure for them to defend their culture and way of life. The Inuit’s believe that many countries, particularly those in the developed world, say they take human rights “so seriously”. This will benefit them and cause a more significant impact if their arguments are centered around the ideology of human rights. This certain individual uses this to further elaborate on his/her point that our world should move from the focus of a political, economic, and technical issue, to one of human impacts and consequences that affect ones’ children, families, and community.
Although people have different outlooks on how global warming should be handled, I personally feel as though we have a moral obligation to take action to protect the future of a planet in peril. Unfortunately, the harm that has been done cannot necessarily be recovered; but why would we want to continue to make it worse? The issue at hand may not personally affect some people. However, everyone should be concerned for the well being of others who are disturbed. The Inuit’s personal experiences really touched me and made me more aware of how much global warming can cause detrimental harm to one’s homeland and region. I personally believe that everyone just assumes that they, as one individual, are not capable of making a change because they are only one person in an enormous world. If everyone thinks this way, there will never be improvement. Therefore, it is essential that more people become mindful of the matter and realize they should not just make changes to be considered a good citizen, but also because it is considered a moral obligation in order to save our world.
Ethiopia in particular, is one country greatly affected by global warming. In an article, “Climate Change Increasing Poverty and Vulnerability in Ethiopia”, this issue is discussed. Ethiopia already has a significant amount of problems due to drought, but the dramatic climate variability from global warming is only making the lives of this poor country worse. This problem especially affects the agricultural segment. Eighty-five percent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood and with this being taken away from them a little bit at a time, they are struggling trying to find new ways to survive. As perceived in the book earlier discussed about the Inuit and how they are losing their homeland and stability because of global warming, this is also the case in Ethiopia. The article states, “It is getting harder and harder for families and communities to bounce back from the ever-changing and inconsistent weather affecting their livelihoods. Many people have been forced to sell livestock or remove children from school – coping mechanisms that only increase the cycle of vulnerability.”
Water.org is trying to make a difference by working in different countries to provide safe water and sanitation. They have a program in Tigray, Ethiopia, a northern region in Ethiopia that is one of the hardest hit regions by drought and crop failure. They are serving 32,000 people in seventy-six communities and six schools. Greenpeace is another influential organization pushing to make a difference in the world. Greenpeace is the largest independent environmental organization on earth. They emphasize the point that they do not take money from industry or government – their bottom line is a green and peaceful future. Throughout my research, I did not find any specific ties of Greenpeace to Ethiopia. However, I did find that the organization is present throughout countries in Africa.
Global warming is a growing issue that cannot be stopped by just a few individuals or these organizations themselves. It is necessary for more people to be informed and become aware of the damaging outcomes associated with rising temperatures. It should not just be encouraged for people to make a change, but it should be seen as a moral obligation for all.