When, in August 2015, I first launched my related participatory art project Letters to the Water – during which I collected, and then read, letters from around the world about and to water – I did so acknowledging the one million gallons of mine wastewater that had just breached a wall at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, CO, which made its way along the San Juan River impacting the Navajo Nation, hundreds of farmers, and the entire local ecosystem, and also acknowledging the Water Protectors in the Oceti Sakowin Camp who took a stand in solidarity to halt the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Now, living as I do Iqaluit (“place of many fish” in Inuktitut), the Eastern Arctic capital city of Nunavut in Inuit Nunangat (homeland of the Inuit), I’m expanding this project to focus specifically on ice, especially given about the increasingly alarming state of ice around the world.
“It’s not just the Arctic Ice, which recedes each year. Just as irreplaceable is the culture, the wisdom that has allowed the Inuit to thrive in the Far North for so long.” ~ From Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s The Right to Be Cold.
Letters to the Ice is a public project that invites people from around the world to engage directly with the grim reality that global ice loss is currently catching up to the worst-case scenario predictions. In her recent keynote at Carleton University’s Kinamagawin event about Inuit relocations (Thursday, February 25, 2021), Sheila Watt-Cloutier suggested that change happens at the speed of empathy. Letters to the Ice aims to invite the necessary empathy to mainstream climate and environmental justice, and to share concerns and solutions about climate and environmental change, trauma, mitigation and adaptation.
Your letter could take any form (e.g. a blessing or prayer, an apology or admission of accountability, or even a love letter, etc.). It can be handwritten or typed. It can include images or not. If you write your letter in a language other than English, please also provide an English translation. If you would like to submit a letter to ice to be included in this project, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org