Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the Inuit activist who credited with launching the first international legal challenge against climate change and dedicated her life to advocating for the ecological interests of Northern peoples , returned to Sackville yesterday to launch her memoir, The Right to Be Cold. The majority of the writing for the book was done while Watt-Cloutier was a visiting scholar at Mount Allison University in 2011.

We asked her what she’s been up to since retiring from her career in international politics, and what hope she has for the future of carbon emissions regulation. Watt-Cloutier says that the Council of Parties of the United Nations has been slow to create binding legislation, and may even be an “obsolete” vehicle for change. She says micro-scale, regional and national interventions to slow the pace of climate change are a source of hope.

Watt-Cloutier commented on the student-led campaign at Mount Allison University to divest the school’s endowment from fossil fuels. She says that it is important for people to take principled stands, even if they may not see immediate results.