Eriel Lugt

Eriel Lugt

Climate Activist and Filmmaker

Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation Resilience Project

meet eriel

Eriel is 21 years old, born June 11, 2002, in Regina, Saskatchewan. She is Inuvialuit; her mother is Inuvialuit and German, and her father is German and Dutch. Growing up Eriel spent most of her childhood and teenage years in Tuktoyaktuk NT Canada, where her mother’s family lived. Living in Tuk, Eriel grew up learning and exploring her Inuvialuit culture, her grandfather (Daduk) Eddie Gruben was born in 1919. All her knowledge came from Eddie, and the stories he passed on to her. She absolutely loved just sitting with him and listening to him talk for hours, always paying close attention to what he was sharing. When she was in high school, she loved getting involved in extra activities. When she was in grade 9, she joined a group called Tuk TV in which she and her classmates took on climate change by documenting the changes of their community. That documentary they created, called “Happening to Us,” took her to Spain in 2019 for COP 25. After she graduated high school, she went on to work as a Climate Coordinator and has continued to be involved in the climate activist role. She visited more places around the world to spread the word of her changing community because of climate change. 

Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation Resilience Project
Nominated by: Maeva Gauthier, FI'13
Class of 2024 Location Canada

The impact of my work is very important. I have been involved in this line of work since I was 15. The most important part of what I do is keep my community updated on the changes happening in our town. Historically, our community has been surveyed and studied by many scientists who have come and gone without informing my community of their findings. I believe that we have the right to know about the changes going on in our own region. 

Over the years, I dedicated my time to the TCCRP (Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation Resilience Project). As a climate monitor, I would go out on the land almost every season and gather data like water temperature, ice thickness, permafrost depth, berry growth and more. I later became the Climate Coordinator where my job was to recruit more climate monitors from our community to join our team. I analyzed and created data sheets for everyone to understand the changes happening within our community.

“For the first time in my whole life, I saw people from all over the world with different beliefs truly connecting with each other because they all share the same goal. It was truly an amazing and powerful experience.”

- Eriel Lugt

As the coordinator, I learned a lot about our tools and equipment and developed a bigger perspective on things. I also spread awareness not only within our community but worldwide. I made many connections with people and, with the help of my boss, our mayor, the council of Tuk, and my peers, we really put our community on the map. 

The most important thing to me is keeping my community safe. I genuinely care so much about the future. I think it’s become incredibly important that people should participate in actions or at least be aware of climate change. I recently went to Rome for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and I can say that everyone there was preaching and rooting for the same thing: climate justice. That experience really opened my eyes. For the first time in my whole life, I saw people from all over the world with different beliefs truly connecting with each other because they all share the same goal. It was truly an amazing and powerful experience.

My hope for our global community’s future is to use that powerful energy to work together and fight for our world. I hope that everyone will become more aware and open-minded about the well being of our planet. I’ve said this in our documentary called Happening to Us – ”We have no other world to turn to, so let’s protect it like it is our own because it is our own.” 

never stop exploring