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Decolonizing Digital Citizen Science: Applying the Bridge Framework for Climate Change Preparedness and Adaptation

Jasmin Bhawra

2022 Canada

Research has historically exploited Indigenous communities, particularly in the medical and health sciences, due to the dominance of discriminatory colonial systems. In many regions across Canada and worldwide, historical and continued injustices have worsened health among Indigenous Peoples. Global health crises such as climate change are most adversely impacting Indigenous communities, as their strong connection to the land means that even subtle changes in the environment can disproportionately affect local food and health systems. As we explore strategies for climate change preparedness and adaptation, Indigenous Peoples have a wealth of Traditional Knowledge to tackle specific climate and related health issues. If combined with digital citizen science, data collection by citizens within a community could provide relevant and timely information about specific jurisdictions. Digital devices such as smartphones, which have widespread ownership, can enable equitable participation in citizen science projects to obtain big data for mitigating and managing climate change impacts. Informed by a Two-Eyed Seeing approach, a decolonized lens to digital citizen science can advance climate change adaptation and preparedness efforts. This paper describes the ‘Bridge Framework’ for decolonizing digital citizen science using a case study with a subarctic Indigenous community in Saskatchewan, Canada.

decolonizing research; citizen science; digital health; health equity; data sovereignty; self-governance; indigenous health; two-eyed seeing; climate change; food security