What is eNuk?
The eNuk Program is an integrated environment and health monitoring program designed by, with, and for Inuit in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut Labrador. Building on the community’s collective history, knowledge, and experience with monitoring, the goal of the eNuk Program is to streamline and incorporate the community’s existing research efforts into a comprehensive strategy for monitoring and responding to environmental and health indicators of climate change.
Monitoring environment- and health-related observations will help Inuit adapt to and plan for current and future changes. For example, environmental conditions are changing so rapidly in and around Rigolet that certain paths known to be safe in the past may now present unexpected dangers. In response, community members are actively finding ways to track changes in the environment and share timely, accurate information with each other regarding when and where it is safe to travel on the land. The eNuk Program will support these existing efforts to track and respond to environmental changes, and through the ongoing collection of environmental information will also help improve the understanding of, and preparation for, future climate and environmental changes in Rigolet in ways that also enhance and promote Inuit health.
The eNuk App
As a part of the eNuk program, a smartphone application has been created as a tool for on-going and near-real-time monitoring of observations, patterns, and trends in climate and environmental conditions and associated health implications in Rigolet. The eNuk app allows community members to record their environmental and health observations in the form of photos, videos, audio recordings, and text descriptions while travelling, hunting, fishing, and harvesting on the land. The app is designed to include indicators of environmental change (such as thinning ice, or unusual weather patterns), as well as elements of both physical health (such as unintentional injuries) and mental wellness (such as feelings and emotions associated with certain conditions or places).
Once observations are collected using the eNuk app, participants have the option to either keep their observations private or share them publicly with the rest of the community. This data will be stored in a central database that is controlled by local and regional government partners, with observational information about the land and weather being publicly available to the entire community.
Development of the eNuk app
During the various stages of the program, the eNuk team met with community members to brainstorm ways of streamlining the community’s existing strategies for collecting and sharing environment and health information into a more comprehensive monitoring system. Through this collaborative, participatory process, the idea of the eNuk app emerged. A pilot version of the app and website is currently being tested by a small group of community members in Rigolet. These initial users, as well as the rest of the community and the project partners, will provide feedback and suggestions on the development of the overall program to help make the final versions of the app and website as engaging and useful as possible.