top of page

Building the Movement Session 8: Preventing Trauma with Climate Change & Environmental Justice

Summary produced by: Leslie Alvarez | Alyssa Besser | Sofia Escalante | Sarah Levine | Thalia Philip (MPH Candidates, Mailman School of Public Health)

Speakers, Organizations, and Contact Information

  • Bob Doppelt | Coordinator, International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC) and Author, Prevent and Healing Climate Trauma: A Guide to Building Resilience and Hope in Communities

  • Dr. James Gordon | Executive Director, Center for Mind Body Medicine

  • Cuco Rodriguez | Chief Equity and Program Officer, Hope and Heal Fund

  • Jacqui Patterson | Executive Director, Chisholm Legacy Project

  • Howard Lawrence | Coordinator, Abundant Alberta, Canada

  • Daniel Homsey | Director, The San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Project

  • Jenna Quinn | Environmental Justice Consultant and Manager, PACES Connection

Workshop Agenda

  • 00:05:02 | Bob Doppelt | Building the Movement to Prevent and Heal Climate Traumas and Promote Environmental Justice

  • 00:34:59 | Dr. James Gordon | Transforming Trauma the Path to Hope and Healing

  • 00:56:45 | Cuco Rodriguez | The National Compadres Network Overview

  • 01:25:47 | Jacqui Patterson | The Need for a Just Transition

  • 01:46:14 | Howard Lawrence | Benefits of Neighbouring

  • 02:06:43 | Daniel Homsey | Advancing Equity in Our Pursuit of Resilience

  • 02:25:07 | Jenna Quinn | Paces Connection: Intro to PACES Science and Environmental Justice

Workshop Overview

Climate change has become omnipresent in society. Each year we are seeing more and more impacts of climate change - if it be hurricanes, an epidemic, air pollution or farming. Climate change has an immense impact on everyday life and causes stressors that impact mental health and well-being from the individual to macro-level. The adverse impacts of climate change on the population level - forced migration, water and food insecurity, adverse health effects - most often impact the most vulnerable populations and highlight race and socio-economic disparities.

The workshop has a diverse set of expert speakers who cover different aspects of climate change, resilience, and environmental justice. Throughout the workshop, viewers are educated on the underlying research behind climate change, trauma, and solutions taken from a holistic, community, and equity-based lens. The key takeaway is that there is a need to take a public health approach to address mental health impacts from climate stress. What this means is that we must engage communities (resilience coordinated coalitions) to take action and advocate for mental wellness and transformational resilience that help entire populations. An emphasis is put on groups that are often ignored and most impacted including vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Why is this Workshop Important?

The intersection between climate change, toxic stress, and PTSD is a relatively newer topic that has gained a lot of attention over the last decade. Recent research shows that young people more than ever are having anxiety over climate issues and are feeling immense dread for the future. It is more important than ever to look at ways to address this and take action. When people see efforts being made to minimize the effects of climate change, they maintain hope, which is essential in lowering climate trauma.


00:26:48 - 00:27:11 | Bob Dopplet | “A public health approach to mental health takes a population level approach not merely one that focuses on treating high risk or vulnerable individuals or groups. It addresses problems by strengthening protective factors, skills, strengths and resources to help buffer people to encounter the forces t\hat undermine their capacity for mental health and resilience.”

00:21:50 - 00:22:00 | Bob Dopplet | “If we understand how humans created the climate emergency then it can become humanity's greatest teacher."

00:38:08 - 00:38:45 | Dr. James Gordon | “It is not just about addressing symptoms or even promoting wellness wellbeing or resilience. We are teaching an approach which gives people the opportunities to learn things about themselves and connect with others in a variety of way and share what they learned with their community…….”

01:26:14 - 01:26:19 | Jacqui Patterson | “Just transition is about shifting from an extractive economy to a living economy.”

02:16:48 - 02:16:56 | Daniel Homsey |” What we see in disasters in that is lifeline and service disruptions immediately generate trauma to residents”

02:37:02 - 02:37:09 | Jenna Quinn | “We know that when lower income communities face disasters, recovery is slower, leading to an increased vulnerability to weather events happening during the recovery period.”

Moderators & Speakers:

  • 0:00: Introduction; 1:06: Review of Agenda and Housekeeping: Dr. Diana (Denni) Fishbein, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

  • 2:52:58: Jesse Kohler, Executive Director, CTIPP


  • 5:02: Bob Doppelt, Coordinator, International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC) and author of Prevent and Healing Climate Trauma: A Guide to Building Resilience and Hope in Communities

  • 35:03: Dr. James Gordon, Executive Director, Center for Mind-Body Medicine

  • 57:14: Cuco Rodriguez, National Compadres Network

  • 1:25:48: Jacqui Patterson, Executive Director, Chisholm Legacy Project

  • 1:45:15: Howard Lawrence, Coordinator, Abundant Alberta, Canada

  • 2:06:47: Daniel Homsey, Director, The San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Program

  • 2:25:10: Jenna Quinn, Environmental Justice, PACES Connection


0:00: Dr. Diana (Denni) Fishbein, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

Denni provides an overview of the workshop

5:02: Bob Doppelt, Coordinator, International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC) and author of Prevent and Healing Climate Trauma: A Guide to Building Resilience and Hope in Communities

5:11: My name is Bob Doppelt, and I coordinate the International Transformational Resilience Coalition…ITRC for short. We are an international coalition of mental health, social service, disaster management, climate change, faith, and other organizations, as well as private members, that are trying to get out front of the mental health and psychosocial spiritual impacts of the climate emergency. And that's what I'm going to talk with you about today. We just completed about two years of research into how we address these issues and I'm going to share the highlights of that research with you.

6:27: Bob leads the Resilience Pause activity

A "presencing skill" - a self-regulation skill; a simple age and culturally-appropriate skill to calm your body, mind, emotions, and behaviors

A "purposing" skill - an adversity-based growth skill; an age and culturally-appropriate skill that allows you to find meaning, the meaning of life, purpose, and healthy hope in the midst of ongoing adversities

10:28: We all know, all of us know, that stress and trauma is epidemic today. The pandemic has made all the stresses and trauma that people experience even worse and added some with health impacts, isolation, loss of jobs, closure of schools, and many other sorts of things. But even before that, there was low wages, high poverty, political polarization, vast economic and social inequalities, fear of violence, many BIPOCs and Indigenous populations experiencing racism and other kinds of inequalities and oppressions, and many kinds of traumatic stresses.

11:14: Many of today's traumatic stresses that we're experiencing are really the result of unresolved past traumas - historic and generational traumas that we don't talk about much, that we don't address. They now are present in the present moment and are aggravating the existing sources of trauma and adding new ones. The past never ends. It's really right here.

11:39: To these stressors, we really now got to add what we call the "wicked climate impacts". What we mean by that is climate change is a wicked problem, meaning that the causes are multiple - from multiple sectors all over the world, although Western nations and the U.S. in particular are significant contributors - 30% of emissions or more come from the U.S. alone.

12:05: But, they are very complex issues. The simple approaches, or the straightforward approaches that we've used in the past to deal with environmental and ecological issues aren't often very helpful. Some have unintended negative consequences, and some often impact one population, one community, one nation in an inequitable way, which makes it very difficult to get consensus or support for moving forward. So, it's a real wicked problem and it's going to get even more wicked.

12:48: There is now a most a zero chance to prevent global temperatures from exceeding the 2.7 Fahrenheit threshold, 1.5C, the threshold above pre-industrial levels, that activates very harmful, and likely irreversible impacts.

13:08: This is going happen this decade now, sometime within the next eight years. If we're wildly lucky, maybe it'll be pushed back into the 2030s. This just came out from a UN governmental panel on climate change.

13:24: Under the current emission pass, in addition to the heat and disrupted climate system, we're seeing abrupt collapses in ecosystems and catastrophic biodiversity losses starting before 2030 in the South and then moving North.

13:42: We really have to understand that's what's actually happening. The dynamics are happening at the global scale, but the impacts are very much local. They happen in our communities, in our regions.

13:59: The bottom line of this is we really have to understand and begin to plan for the fact that we're in the midst of really, technically, is a climate, ecosystem, biodiversity, mega emergency that's going to alter every aspect of society.

14:18: This is something we have to wrap our heads around because if we remain unprepared, we're going to see individual community and societal distresses and traumas like we've never seen before in modern history. I call it "the Trauma Scene" and researchers call it the Trauma Scene also. The geological era we're entering, the Anthropocene, creates the Trauma Scene.

14:45: The most important impact, the most impactful impact of the mega emergency is cascading disruptions to ecological, social, and economic systems that people rely on for food, water, shelter, housing, jobs, income, healthcare, safety, etc.

15:07: All sorts of things are now already appearing…Food and water shortages and other resource disruptions, job losses, income losses…it's caused, much like the pandemic caused these cascading disruptions to different systems, the climate emergency is far, far worse.

15:37: Added to that, mixed in with that, are more frequent, extreme, and prolonged disasters that traumatize millions. The cascading disruptions to core systems are stressful, and then we have these disasters and traumas.

15:53: Last year, a report came out in assessment that found 40% of Americans live in a county that was impacted by climate change or disaster last year. That's likely to double, that is to say, the annual number of percentage of Americans, is likely to double by midcentury.

16:12: 20-40% of people who are directly impacted can experience mental health problems, as can those who know someone impacted or even just watch from afar.

16:26: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, low-income and other marginalized populations are hit the hardest, at least now, but everybody is hit by these impacts.

16:52: Left unaddressed, what we're going to see is a pandemic of wicked individual community and societal distresses and traumas. What we mean by this is they're caused by multiple sources, just like the climate emergency is, so are the traumas and distresses. They're caused by multiple interacting issues or factors. That means it's not simple. There's no simple, easy way to prevent or heal them. We have to think and act in different ways.

17:31: We pretty much understand what an individual stress or trauma is. "Stress" you can call an understandable or normal response associated with stressors or demands that are difficult to cope with that result from witnessing or being involved with harmful situations or result from fantasizing about a future impact. An individual trauma…is a blow to the psyche that breaks through one's defenses with such brute force that one cannot react to it effectively, as so often happens in catastrophes, people withdraw into themselves, feeling afraid, vulnerable, and very alone, and that's what we're seeing with the climate emergency.

18:18: What is not well understood is what community-level traumas and societal traumas are...Community trauma is an event or series of events that create a blow to the base of tissue of social life that damages the attachments that people have together and impairs their prevailing sense of community. It is the gradual realization that the community no longer exists as an effective source of support, and that an important part of the self has disappeared. Community trauma can be a specific geographic area called the community, or it can be people with shared identities, such as religious or spiritual groups, refugee groups, or even Internet based groups. And societal trauma takes that, also called collective trauma, takes that to another level. And it goes beyond a specific geographic area or group of shared identity to affect entire cultures or nations or humanity as a whole.

19:19: The pandemic is a classic example of a societal trauma, a collective trauma. When the community near where I lived burned down, that created that community trauma, but there's also other kinds of traumas.

19:36: These individual, community and societal traumas can feed on themselves and really produce very harmful effects. We all know that if you're in this field, that unaddressed trauma becomes buried in our nervous system and it causes people to deny or dissociate, blame, self sabotage, and reenact the very same thing that caused trauma, leading to distorted facts and truths and perceptions, harmful social norms, institution, and policies, we versus them, tribalism, abuse and aggression and violence, including more ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and more, often surfaces and re-intensifies unresolved past historic racism, genocide, and other forms of injustices and violence. And it creates many new forms of injustice and violence, including injustices in climate solutions.

20:34: Many solutions, as I said before, to the climate emergency, actually adversely affect people of color, poor communities, low-income communities, etc., and this is what this unaddressed trauma can lead to, unless we're very aware what's happening.

20:50: And the combo of this can not only unravel families, communities and society, but it makes resolving the wicked problem, like the climate crisis, all but impossible to achieve. That's sort of where we're at with this thing.

21:07: In many ways, the climate emergency is the ultimate symbol and symptom of unaddressed historic and intergenerational trauma. That's because traumatized people cannot see things very clearly. We all know that, and they can't respond necessarily with safe, healthy and just ways. So our refusal to see and meaningfully address the climate emergency, that is many people, especially in the US, is one outcome of this unaddressed historic and intergenerational trauma. But these outcomes are not inevitable. That's what I want to focus on.

21:50: If we understand how this came about, how humans created the climate emergency, our activities, it can become humanity's greatest teacher and we can then adopt new thinking and approaches that produce healthy, just, equitable and restorative systems. And again, we need new thinking and approaches to do that.

22:14: First of all, we must respond now at this scale of the problem. And this requires thinking and acting through a population lens, not an individual or family lens - very different. And we must shift from our deficit-based and pathology-focused programs to focusing on strengthening protective factors that increase everyone's capacity for mental wellness and resilience.

22:43: So what do I mean by this? And we call it the capacity for transformational resilience. So we use that term to differentiate resilience from bouncing back to where we were before a disaster or crisis. We don't want to bounce. Many people don't want to bounce back to where they were after a crisis, it wasn't a great place in the first place. We really need to use these adversities and the climate emergency as a whole to really transform our personal lives, our families, our communities and society as a whole to make it more restorative and address and eventually overtime, reduce the climate emergency to manageable levels.

23:29: And to do that, when distress is caused by external forces that have no endpoint, no resolution, no cure, that's what the climate impacts are going to be for the next millennium or more.

23:43: The priority must be to build resilience to help people push back against those stressors, not just try to fix deficits or treat symptoms of pathology. So, building universal capacity for transformational resilience…By doing that, the stresses and traumas generated by the climate emergency can be prevented and healed when they do occur, and they will occur, and the crisis can be a turning point in history for us.

24:16: And two of the core elements of building universal capacity for transformational resilience is what I talk about when we first started. First is helping everyone develop presencing skills, self-regulation skills, using simple age and culturally-accountable self-regulation skills to calm their mind, body and emotions, and behaviors, when they're in the midst of adversity, when they're upset, and it's often connected with spirituality. A lot of us don't like to talk about spirituality- could be a religious component, it can just be a connection with nature, connection with a higher calling or higher spirit. But that's a really important part of it, a presencing for many people.

25:01: But equally important with the long climate emergency, because the impacts are going to go on for a century or more until humanity does what is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the levels that bring temperatures back down to manageable levels, people have to find their calling. How do you want to live your life in the midst of that kind of ongoing adversities? It's called adversity based growth in psychology, and it's really about turning towards and learning about ourselves and others and the world around us in adversity, and then find new meaning, direction and healthy hope in that. And that's also often very closely connected with spirituality. Sometimes it's religious, sometimes it's not for different people, but it's very important.

25:52: And to build…widespread capacity for transformational resilience, we really have to address not just the individual and family levels, that's very important, but also the social, economic, physical, built, and ecological conditions in which people live around it. This is the social ecological model. Many of you know this,…but we're sort of focused on the bottom two, and we forget or don't address the community, the structural, the environmental issues that all influence mental wellness and resilience within an individual or family.

26:33: Addressing these multisystemic factors really requires a public health approach to mental health. A public health approach to mental health. So what does that mean? A public health approach to mental health takes a population level approach, not one that merely focuses on treating high risk or vulnerable individuals or groups. It addresses problems by strengthening protective factors, skills, strengths and resources that help buffer people from encountering the forces that undermine their capacity for mental health resilience. Many times, people have those skills and don't realize it. Other times, those skills have existed historically in their culture, but they have been forgotten or they've been eliminated, so you need to help people remember what they were or rebuild those skills. And at the same time, a public health approach prioritizes preventing problems, not merely treating them after they emerge, which is what almost all of our behavioral health programs do, and it integrates healing methods with the prevention methods by building resilience.

27:48: And research shows that mental health and psychosocial spiritual problems can be prevented and mental wellness and resilience can be enhanced. We know how to do this.

28:01: And research also shows that consensus is the most effective way to address widespread mental health and psychosocial spiritual problems is to establish the social infrastructure in communities. We call it a Resilience Coordinating Coalition, an RCC. But there are many out there. They use whatever term they want. That's just our term for it. Lots of ACEs programs have community based coalitions, etc. that engage a wide and diverse broad diversity of residents, civic groups and public, private and nonprofit organizations that jointly plan, implement and continually improve equitable, just, age and culturally accountable actions that build the capacity for transformational resilience within all adults and children, not just those who seem to be having problems.

28:53: The Whole Community Initiatives must also now engage residents and actions to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, restore local ecosystems, and prepare for and adapt to climate impacts. And what we have found in the communities we looked at doing this kind of work is when people see visible signs of progress, they see local emissions going down, they see other changes being made, positive changes, it builds healthy hope. So this is not just about the ecological issue. This is about helping people maintain wellness and resilience by building hope.

29:31: And so we're calling for disaster preparedness, ACEs, behavioral health and many other prevention and treatment programs. They remain important, but we believe they now need to be integrated into multisystemic whole community-based initiatives like the ACEs program that many of you are involved with are already doing some of that. We need to scale those up and include more people and focus on the entire population.

29:56: I talked about forming a Resilience Coordinating Coalition. Here's an example of what this looks like. And again, many of you are part of something like this. We didn't make this up, we're just using what's out there.

30:49: A Resilience Coordinating Coalition really is about- is getting people from faith leaders, neighborhood leaders, private sector leaders, civic leaders, youth leaders, public sector leaders, mental health leaders, nonprofits, all together in a coalition that jointly works on these kinds of issues. And again, we didn't make this up. There's many of these programs already happening,

31:12: And there's five foundational areas that these Resilience Coordinating Coalitions need to focus on. This is the sense of our two years of extensive research and we're going to hear from speakers now to talk about each one of these.

31:30: The first one is to establish ongoing age and cultural economic opportunities for residents to heal their trauma. And this is not clinical treatment, that could be part of it, but the bigger part is offering healing circles or other group healing methods, somatic healing, expressive therapies, mindfulness, space healing, spiritual healing, nature-based healing, and other kinds of things.

32:11: The second foundational area is to build strong social support networks across boundaries, in communities across racial, cultural and economic boundaries. This is going to be vital for protection, for prevention and healing.

32:49: The third area is to ensure a just transition by building supportive local, physical, built, economic and ecological conditions in communities, and all this has to be done in ways that don't adversely impact any particular population, especially people of color and Indigenous populations. So that's what it means to make a just transition, to really shift towards economic, built and economic and ecological additions that begin to help restore the environment and provide living wage jobs.

33:31: The fourth foundational area is building universal literacy about mental wellness and resilience. And…the starting point of that is helping everybody become trauma informed. But that means more than just social service providers. It means the entire community- all children and adults should in age- and culturally-appropriate ways, understand, learn about, how trauma and toxic stress can affect their body, mind, emotions and behaviors, and how it affects the thinking and behaviors of groups also, and learn presencing and purposing skills, self regulation, and adversity based growth skills.

34:12: And the final area is is to engage residents in these Resilience Coordinating Coalitions, to constantly engage residents and practices to support mental wellness and transformation resilience. And that means finding simple joys, practicing forgiveness, being grateful, etc.

35:03: Dr. James Gordon, Executive Director, Center for Mind-Body Medicine

35:15: The whole area of addressing the trauma that climate change is bringing is vitally important and becoming more important, as I'm sure just about everyone knows all the time and it's an area that is too often sadly ignored. And I think that by addressing the psychological consequences, we can also raise consciousness about the causes. So what I want to do in these 20 minutes is very quickly to give you an overview of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and how we're addressing psychological trauma on a population-wide level in relation to climate related disasters, to wars, to the opioid epidemic, historical trauma among Indigenous people.

36:09: So this is us, the Center for Mind-Body Medicine…These are some of the programs we have, and you'll see the mixture of very different kinds of programs - from being present in the war, in war zones, and working during and after wars, starting in Kosovo in 1998. And I just got back from Ukraine about less than a week ago. We're working in Ukraine and working with people all over the world who are working with Ukrainian refugees.

36:52: We have about 10,000 people who come through our training program. We train health and mental health professionals, community leaders, teachers, clergy, first responders, veterans, peer counselors, including teenage kids in our work. And we have an international faculty who work with us part time, about 160.

37:16: This is a quote from the New York Times about our work with the veterans. We published a lot of research, about 25 papers on our own work would be published in scientific journals, but it's very nice when the New York Times and others give us their seal of approval as well…It’s work that makes sense, that works with people biologically, psychologically, socially, that we can teach to large numbers of people who in turn can make it available to hundreds of thousands or millions of people, which is what we've already done. And we're in a stage of significant growth, which is another reason why I'm very happy to be with you this afternoon.

38:00: Moving on to the issue of trauma. What we're talking about, and this is in line with a larger view of healing and healthcare, that it’s not just about addressing symptoms or even promoting wellness and well-being and resilience. We're teaching an approach which gives people the opportunity to learn things about themselves, to connect with others in a variety of ways, and then to share what they've learned with their community in a way that is not only helpful, but it is deeply transformative, both for the people who were training to do this work and for all those of all ages in the communities with whom they were.

38:40: And this, I would add, is the highest goal of Indigenous systems of healing, which recognized that you had to deal with symptoms and you had to try to prevent illness, but that also that the goal ultimately of healing and helping was to help people live in harmony with their own nature and with the natural, spiritual and social world.

39:04: This is a quote from Franz Kafka that some of you may know and it's a kind of a mantra…It’s kind of inspirational for at least for me and for the work that we do…I’m sure many of you will realize this as well as we're sharing what we know and what we learn with others, we're not only helping to relieve their suffering, we're relieving our own. This is part of our own healing.

40:01: I think it's important that we understand this is a part of life and not apart from it and it comes to all of us. It's not just those other people. I think this gathering together here is an example. It's not just the people who've already been affected by climate change. It is the whole planet. The whole planet is sort of suffering in anticipation or in often enough and deliberate, if not willful, ignorance of what's happening around us. But all of us are subjected to trauma early in life or midlife. And if not, then surely as we grow old and frail and face inevitable losses and in our own inevitable death. But it's really important that as we frame this discussion, we understand that trauma is a reality. It's not something that's just this extraordinary time, even though this is an extraordinary time, the entire planet is in danger. But the trauma is a part of human life. And once again, Indigenous people have always known this.

41:05: Here is a slide which shows just some of the causes of trauma…Among them, one of the ones that's important is that what we do to help people, and certainly in the health care system, can also be traumatizing. And so we have to be continually, as we work with people and present ourselves as available to be of help, we have to understand that there may be a downside and pay attention to that.

41:35: This is one way to think about the trauma that I like, kind of developmental way. And this goes all the way back, 100 years back, to people like Heinz Verner and they're looking at sort of organismic development. Organisms, including the human organism, are developing in a way which makes them both more complex and more able to focus and deal with specific situations. When we're traumatized, that normal process of growth and development, which goes on all the way through adulthood, becomes disrupted, and primarily in two ways. Either chaos is created by anxiety, agitation, fearfulness, uncertainty, or there's a kind of shutting down and an inhibition and a slowing down and an inability to move forward. So those are the two basic biological reactions. The first corresponds to the prolongation of the fight or flight response and the second to the prolongation of the freeze response. And I'll talk about that in a minute, which are two of our basic reactions to trauma of any kind.

42:48: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis, which has become a kind of celebrity recently. Many people talk about their PTSD. I think this is an advance that we're becoming aware of it, that we're not suppressing our knowledge of the damage the trauma does to us, and therefore we're opening ourselves to the possibility of healing. And here again, this is a bit of an oversimplification, but there's a good deal of truth in it that when people have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they’re anxious, they're agitated. They're in a state of hypervigilance as well as hyperarousal. They have trouble sleeping and focusing, and it's prolonged beyond the ordinary time that the response is designed. The natural design is for fight or flight to be quickly turned on as a lifesaving response to a predator, and then quickly turned off when the threat has disappeared. The difficulty, of course, for the humans is either we live in continual situations that provoke fight or flight, and climate change certainly to be one of those situations.

44:00 Certainly the war in Ukraine, if you're hearing air raid sirens all the time, you're going to have to go to the basement shelter. You're going to be in fight or flight. Or we carry around the fight or flight inside us even after the trauma is over.

44:15: So we work a lot with police, for example. And the trauma that may have come, for example, working with the Capitol Police after January 6, 2021, after the massive trauma to them, many of them are still, even though they know it's quite clear that that trauma is over, the residual effects, the anxiety, the education and the irritability, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, persist long after the particular trauma is over.

44:46: Freeze response is an older evolutionary, evolutionarily older response. Fight or flight, is the Sympathetic Nervous System. The freeze response is the oldest part of the Parasympathetic Nervous System, deep in the midbrain. And it is the response that happens when the trauma is overwhelming and inescapable, when fight or flight can't do the job.

45:12: And you see, the it most obvious example for many of us - using children who have been abused where they they can't get away from the abuser. They can't fight the abuser because abuser is too big. So they shut down, they withdraw, their body is kind of hunched over or collapses sometimes.

45:32: Freeze responses also life saving in nature. The mouse that's caught by your house cat - when she's in your cat's mouth, she kind of collapses and you may have seen this…In a freeze response, cat would get bored. No fun to torture a mouse that's not fighting back. And if the mouse was still alive, they put the mouse down, mouse would shake itself off, run off to the mouse hole, freeze response came, did its job, and it's done.

46:11 And we humans, the freeze response persists either because the trauma continues to be overwhelming and inescapable, or because it has been so overwhelming before that we're carrying around that. You see this most often in people who've been raped or tortured or horribly beaten or people who've been abused as children, and so they stay in this kind of shutdown mood state.

46:40: Here's just another way of looking at post traumatic stress disorder. It is a kind of fixation - it’s being stuck in the past with the nightmares and the flashbacks and the recollections and the triggering, or it is a continual replaying of that trauma, past trauma in the present so that we can't move forward.

47:05: PTSD is also a mixed combination of prolonged fight or flight and prolonged freezing - so anxious, irritated, angry and also shut down, emotionally, unavailable, withdrawal. And we can see this whether it's police or veterans or people who've been abused or people who've been through climate-related disaster. And we've worked in Haiti after the earthquake, at Houston after the hurricanes, and after Katrina in New Orleans, Northern California firefight fires. So we've worked in many of these situations and we see mixed picture of symptoms in much of the population that they continue with this anxious, agitated, maybe not so connected to each other.

47:56: Artwork heals trauma. And these are kids in a classroom in Haiti. We begin by using techniques that restore biological and psychological balance. Here the kids are moving their bodies.

47:12: The first technique we begin with is soft belly breathing - breathing slowly and deeply. These are kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where there were 17 students and teachers killed on February 14th, 2018. And they're doing soft belly breathing - breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth, belly soft and relaxed, balancing the fight or flight response, coming back into physiological and psychological balance. And we're teaching these kids not only for their well-being, but teaching them…called “Mind-Body Ambassadors". They're reaching out and they're using the same approach with other kids in their schools.

48:55: Trauma-frozen bodies, when the expressive meditations as deep breathing, whirling, jumping up and down, shouting or shaking and dancing is what would you see…We were in an intentional community called Bastion in New Orleans…The community for originally was for US veterans with traumatic brain injury, which expanded to offering other veterans and opportunity there.

49:37: Active, expressive meditations are the oldest kind of meditation on the planet. All of our ancestors used them. They're a vital part of healing trauma. The shaking that we do, that we did before, we’re dancing now, but the shaking that we did before we started dancing is something that's used… first of all animals that have been in a confrontation. You see your dog and your cat in a confrontation with another animal. After it's over, they'll shake themselves off. They'll move out of that fight or flight and freeze response. And it's vital for humans, and Indigenous people have used it for a long time, and once again, we're learning from them.

50:23: Once you begin to get into physiological and psychological balance, every other technique, every other tool, can much more easily be used. Whether it's guided mental imagery that we use, or self-expression in words and drawings of movements, or biofeedback, or autogenic training, or mindful eating, or healthy eating, or any kind of psychotherapeutic organizing technique, works much better, when we're in balance. We start off with bringing people to balance. We work with small groups…

51:14: I just want to emphasize the importance of group support. Once again, Indigenous people had it down. In the thrill of modern biomedicine, the last several hundred years of scientific discovery, we’ve lost the sense of context. We lost sense of the wider ecology that affects all of us, in which we in turn affect. Group support is a vital part of that ecology of who we are, and it's a vital part of our healing and it's a central part of what we do at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

51:53: These are when you have a group and you learn the self-care techniques. There is then the possibility for taking this time of disintegration, the time that comes with trauma, and using it as a basis for reforming who we are in a new way that is not only more integrated, more expensive, but also more compassionate toward others.

52:25: The modern name for this is post-traumatic growth. This was again, once again part of Indigenous wisdom…Groups are absolutely crucial. Meditation is central to our groups, not only in the sense of using particular meditative techniques like the concentrative breath meditation of soft belly breathing, expressive meditation, shaking and dancing, but also helping people come into that place of moment-to-moment awareness and being present with each other in the group. The group in which each person makes discoveries for themselves, which they have an opportunity to learn for themselves and to make the changes that makes sense to them. In these groups…in which all of our faculty lead, 5000, actually 7000 people trained around the world, about 5000 of them have not only been trained to use this work with individuals or classrooms, but also to create these very intensive, very effective small groups.

53:58: More than 80% of the people begin these groups with qualifying for the diagnosis of PTSD no longer have it after participating in nine, ten, twelve, of these groups. And the great thing is not only are the results good, but we can train people with no background in medicine or psychology to lead these groups if they want to.

54:30: These are the stages.

54:52: Once again, here's a little snapshot of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine

55:00: Here, we were working in Ukraine. This is a scene with Ukrainian psychotherapists who are taking refuge in Poland.

57:14: Cuco Rodriguez, National Compadres Network

57:32: My name is Cuco Rodriguez and I currently work with the Hope and Heal Fund as a Chief Equity Program Officer, but I also am a member of National Compadres Network for the last 27 years. Given the short amount of time, I’m going to talk about the work that National Compadres engages in around healing in communities.

56:56: But I think before I begin with that, I think it's important to contextualize the work, in terms of where we're at in the moment, in terms around conversations about equity and also from a historical context. I think it's very important to acknowledge that especially we're talking about issues of climate equity, that a lot of the work that we engage in is rooted in a lot of traditional practices of Indigenous communities, particularly those of the Americas. And I think that when we talk about issues like climate justice in this country, it's important to acknowledge that that Indigenous communities…(connection discontinued)

1:01:08: It's important to contextualize, that I think many native communities have for a long time have been pointing out, that really our connection to nature and our connection to the environment is really about balance.

1:01:21: And again I point that out not as a proverbial, “I told you so”, but really to really point out especially when we talk about trauma, that these communities have for a long time have something to contribute in terms of the work and the world perspective, especially in the context of how humans are connected not only to each other, to the environment that they live in.

1:01:48: And I think that it's important to point that out because certainly climate justice, it's a key issue that we need to acknowledge that we're not revisiting. But at the same time, I bring it up in the context of trauma work because when you come from a world perspective or a spiritual perspective where everything is about interconnectedness and balance, then you also have to look into those communities that have that perspective in terms of how they address issues around trauma because again, from our standpoint in the work that we do, when you have imbalance in your life, when you have trauma in your life and it's unaddressed, it creates a lot of imbalance and really a lot of our work is about restoring some of those things. So that's an important point for us to kind of point something to point out.

1:02:38: The second issue is that, from a historical standpoint, it's also important to note that many of our communities that we work with, particularly communities of color, have been dealing with trauma for certain in this country, but across the world in this, in this country, in the context for the last 500 years, we've been really dealing with a lot of trauma and a lot of challenges really that have existed in terms of this country.

1:03:07: And as a consequence, I think that communities of color have figured out a lot of different ways to address a lot of the issues that are going on.

1:03:16: But it's also important to point out that from a historical context, it is only until recently that systems that have oppressed communities have stopped doing so actively, or overtly. And I think that's an important thing because a lot of the work that we kind of throw ourselves into these communities is really normalizing, I think the impact, that the historical trauma has had in a lot of these policies had on people. And by normalizing, I mean that I think what we see in terms of the impact, that what's benefited in communities, in terms of indicators of health or inequities that we see in these communities, it really is a result of coping with a lot of these stressors that have been going on for a very long time, 500 years or more in many cases.

1:04:13: And I think that's an important point because, it's a very different perspective from a Western perspective in terms of addressing trauma. For example, in terms of, mental health. Once again, I'm not saying that it doesn't have a lot to contribute. But certainly I think that the length of time that profession has existed from a Western context. We can argue that many communities of color, Indigenous communities have had traditional healing practices that have been in existence for far longer. And so again, I'm not taking anything away from traditional mental health, but I think that a lot of other communities have a lot of resources and practices to contribute to the field that can be very, very helpful.

1:05:05: Moreover, I think that some of these traditional Western practices also aren't very good at addressing historical trauma that communities are contending with and having contending for a long time. So, I think it's important to recognize that, and a lot of the practice that we utilize at National Compadres is really to address a lot of the internalization, but it's also about normalizing, I think, the response that people have.

1:05:35: And the biggest area to be honest with you, that we really try to address is that many communities, what we're dealing with is aspects of generational trauma. So that's an important part of it.

1:05:45: And the last thing I want to contextualize, I think is important in terms of our work, is really the reality that where we are now in terms of our conversations about equity is a very critical point for us to kind of reflect on.

1:05:59: Two-three years ago, I think that the field and the work of human services or trauma work was in a very different place. Post George Floyd, things have shifted considerably, and I think it's an opportunity for us to recognize that the way that we've been approaching this has really maybe not been equitable in acknowledging the perspectives and the support, the perspective and the contribution particularly of communities of color in a lot of this work.

1:06:29: And I say that because I think that's a really critical component within where we are at as a field and it's an opportunity for us to begin to engage in conversations that may have to shift the way that convention or the way we view convention in a lot of our work. And again for us as an organization I think it's really important to point out.

1:06:54: From an equity standpoint, I think it's important to point out that I focus a lot on questioning convention primarily because the absence of people of color when we create convention should in of itself give us some pause to rethink and requestion whether or not when we were inclusive, but whether or not we included all perspectives in the direction that we want to go, either in a movement or in how we want to solve issues.

1:07:23: And so for us, I say that because I think that a lot of the work that we engage in is working directly with communities to address a lot of these external stressors that have created the sense of hopelessness and helplessness in communities.

1:07:40: And again, it's not something that was created overnight. It's something that has occurred over, 500 years and when you look at it from that standpoint, you're really talking about historical trauma that has hit communities and families for generations and generations. So it becomes really, really challenging work.

1:08:00: And it's also again very focused on not only addressing the trauma, but also reengaging those communities and finding some of the assets and attributes that they have in their own communities and their own practices, which again incidentally, from a historical context, were actually taken from many of these communities or many of these communities were not allowed to continue with some of these practices.

1:08:31: So a lot of our work is really in re-engaging these communities and rediscovering these practices that are organic to these communities and having these communities create some space so that they can engage in these processes. And again I'm not saying that they should not also engage in traditional modalities and like mental health or other forms of Western medicine, but it's also important to point out that these communities benefit a great deal by rediscovering a lot of traditional practices.

1:09:07: The last point that I'll make, this very important because of the where we are now in terms of time, is that communities of color, Indigenous communities in particular, have long contributed to many fields, including psychology, including mental health and also in the health field.

1:09:28: The problem is that in the past, a lot of these practices and a lot of these contributions and gifts that they have offered a society in the world have been appropriated. And I say that because I think it's very important for us to acknowledge that a lot of these communities have a lot to offer, but we want to do it in a respectful and equitable way.

1:09:48: And when I started, my conversation was really pointing out that for any Indigenous communities and the perspective that we follow as an organization in the work that we do, is really a little bit different in terms of our worldview and how we view spirituality, how we view the connection of spirituality to nature, to ourselves, to our mental health and health, well-being and it's really important because often when there are practices or traditions that really are helpful in working, often disciplines come want to commodify them because they're working and they commodify them and then also begin to strip them away of some very key critical areas that are very spiritual, very connected to these communities.

1:10:31: So I say that because I think that a lot of these practices is really important to integrate, but it's also very important for us to acknowledge that there is robust evidence in terms of the their effectiveness, but a part of their effectiveness is it's because it is connected and intertwined with a lot of the the spiritual components that come with these practices.

1:11:30: …the reason that's where we started, now granted it's expanded beyond that to working with communities and women, but a lot of the work, what we realized, is that a lot of the men were responsible for a lot of negative things going on in communities. But part of that was because they're very traumatized. But a lot of the work that we do is engaging in partnership with community with a lot of folks working in the community. But also the important part of it is that we try to afford and create space so that community members can at minimum emote and begins to talk a little bit about their shared experiences. Because I think a lot of this is really they're suffering in isolation and by creating, I think, a forum where they can come together, and again there's a specific process that we follow, a four stage process that we work with community on, but part of it is creating that space so that they feel comfortable, so they feel safe, but also begin to reconnect.

1:12:36: And I think that a fundamental difference, I think when we talk about worldview that we look at, is that while Western kind of perspectives are very much about valuing independence, people forget that a lot of Indigenous communities, traditional cultures are about interdependence. And I think that when that gets severed in communities and living in isolation, it does create some problems and some challenges. So part of what we're trying to do in creating the space is to create those connections with each other, that interconnectedness in that balance that I talked about, because everything is about interconnections and interrelationships.

1:13:13: And more importantly, I think that people begin to realize that a lot of what they been struggling with one, they do have a locus of control, but feel that they don't. But more importantly, they also begin to realize that it is a collective experience of a community and not the individual experience of the community, but more importantly, on the back end, what people begin to realize is that the problems that are going on in communities has actually been around coping with a lot of the trauma and that's the way they've been coping with it. That's why I talked about kind of trying to normalize and I think normalize the response in communities. And again I say that not to dismiss it, but simply to say any community, any group of people that is impacted and traumatized and oppressed over a very long period of time, ends up in this in the same place, it doesn't matter in terms of ethnicity.

1:14:11: And I think that people forget that in communities of color, communities throughout the world and in this country, that they didn't overnight end up in this place of trauma and end up in this place of violence. And whatever it is that you're seeing community or however it is measuring health and well-being, this has happened over a long period of time and then more importantly, that the institutions that created those situations in the first place and are responsible for that, are the same institutions that are attempting to say that they're not going to fix that, but never assume responsibility for the fact that they're responsible. So I say all of that because I think that the process for us with community is very complex, but it's also walking them through not only with their own trauma and addressing that, normalizing it, but also having them recognize that there's a lot of assets and attributes that they have within their own cultural perspectives that are very beneficial and helpful. And then finally they begin to realize that collectively they've been struggling with in larger systems.

1:15:54: Bob leads Resilience Pause break

1:25:14: Bob Doppelt, Coordinator, International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC) and author of Prevent and Healing Climate Trauma: A Guide to Building Resilience and Hope in Communities

1:25:14: We’re going to talk about a need for a just transition. That means that as we address the climate emergency, we have to make sure that everyone is treated fairly and no one is treated unjustly.

1:25:48: Jacqui Patterson, Executive Director, Chisholm Legacy Project

1:25:59: The Chisholm Legacy Project- it’s a resource hub for Black frontline climate justice leadership and our mission, our work, as is so much so many other folks involved in the climate justice movement, is rooted in in just transition. And just transition is about shifting from an extractive economy to a living economy. Shifting from the economy that is rooted in, as we say, extraction, exploitation and domination and so forth, into an economy that really embodies values of cooperation, values of regenerative systems and regeneration, values of living, a caring economy that cares for each other and also cares for from other earth. That is really at the root of what just transition is.

1:26:52: And so we know that where we are now is fairly far from it as a society, and we also know that there are glimmers of hope where folks are already beginning to make this transition.

1:27:05: And to say in the US context, in the United States context, our country, contrary to many of the romanticized names that talk about kind of explorers, seeking freedom and so forth - we really had this notion of the folks who first came were settler colonial settlers. And so really colonizing the United States of America through force, displacing, murdering the original habitants of the United States and and stealing the land. So all the land that we're sitting on…each of our lands we’re sitting on the United States has that history of being unseated territory from the original inhabitants in terms of the Indigenous nations.

1:28:02: We see that as kind of the basis for the United States, the basis for our economy. So we went from there from displacing the folks who were originally here to then getting the ships and going over to sub-Saharan Africa and making tomorrow definitely rooted in the soil here, too. So going to sub-Saharan Africa and stealing people away from the lands, from the heritage, from the families, from what would have been their generational wealth, to then put them in the holes in the bottom of ships to become cargo, dehumanized cargo, that then became the labor that built the infrastructure that was forced to to be a part of the extractive forces from the land and the labor that the people who then became the generational wealth of others in this nation.

1:28:59: We see these are unfortunately the roots, and… that the trauma is is very much rooted in the soil. And so when we had our first convening for our resilience initiative as NACP, we had it in a place called Franklinton Center at Bricks. And it was a place that was a former plantation that was known for where they sent people, enslaved persons, who were considered to be recalcitrant or that needed to be “broken”.

1:29:35: And so as we walked those lands and thought about the resilience of our people who have survived these generations of domination, of extraction, of exploitation, we thought about what was in the soil, the blood that was soaked through the soil, the experiences, the tears were soaked in that soil.

And we also thought about the ways that through that experience people continue to survive, people continue to go on.

1:30:03: And so now the work that we do at the Chisholm Legacy Project, we do work around community building, movement building, bending the mainstream art of environmentalism towards equity and justice, and also supporting the well-being of Black women and Black femme folks who are leading in the movement because there’s so much that Black femmes in particular give to the movement, and yet there’s so little that that holds Black femme to the moment. We think of ourselves last often in in the work. And therefore the self-care that they kind of preach to people about self-care isn't enough when our communities have such deep needs and so many Black women put themselves last in that in that movement

1:30:50: We're holding our families, holding our organizations, holding the movement and in the case of Georgia and Alabama, holding democracy itself. So there's so much on the backs of Black women. So we really want to really focus on that well-being, peace, and healing justice as it relates to to Black femme leadership.

1:31:10: So with the community building taking us back to what I think about Franklinton Center at Bricks, we work with communities that are addressing environmental climate justice, but we're proactively reaching out to Freedmen settlements - settlements that were founded by people who were emancipated from enslavement and who really were able to pull together a bit, a few pennies to be able to kind of collectively purchase these plots of land for themselves and for their descendants.

1:31:42: And so, but unfortunately again in this United States situation where extractivism and corporatism rules, many of these Freedmen settlements are in unincorporated areas and not afforded the rights that other folks are often afforded in terms of just the commons - things that we shouldn’t be able to take for granted, whether it's clean air, clean water, just the basic needs.

1:32:08: I'm in Louisiana now, but I just came from Dallas, where we're working with a Freedmen settlement called Sand Branch, Texas. It was about 14 miles outside of Dallas, one of the richest cities in the nation and in the world in fact. So much welfare. Yet Sand Branch is this unincorporated area that has not had running water since the 80s. And even before that they were dependent on well water until the well water was so contaminated they can no longer use it.

1:32:42: This unincorporated area has a situation where they are dependent on the goodwill of people who come and donate these cases and cases of those 16.9 ounce bottles of water. And that's what they use for their drinking, for their cooking, for their cleaning of the household, clothes washing, bathing. Because again, the water isn't even possible to bathe in. So imagine your existence of having to pour out these 16.9 ounce bottles of water to do everything that we take for granted that we need water for every day.

1:33:21: The Guardian wrote an article on it a while ago called “America's Dirty Little Secret”. So again, it's sad because the sanitation issues are so devastating there. But it's also sad because they're not able to tell their own story often. So, other people are telling their story. That's certainly not the framing that anyone would want. Even as devastating as the conditions are in that community, no one would want to be called a “dirty little secret”. But it does speak to the fact that most people, when I talk about Sand Branch, are surprised like that exists in the United States. That exists 14 miles outside of Dallas. How is that even possible in the land of plenty? In the land of riches? Contrary to to the false narratives around scarcity.

1:34:09: But not only do they not have running water, because they're an incorporated area, they don't have trash pickup either. So those 16.9 ounce bottles of water along with, and so many of them for all their household needs, along with all the other household trash, is burned in these barrels in their backyard. So again we think about air quality - that means they running these mini incinerators in their backyards that are that are toxifying the air on on a daily basis.

1:34:41: And that's again not even the worst of the situation because they were declared to be a a floodplain by FEMA some years ago. Even though they've never had a flood in the history of the Freedmen settlement, it was founded in 1878 - but what that means is that there's signs all over the community saying that there's no improvements allowed because, again, it's a cost benefit analysis. If they put improvements in, then it raises the value of the of the places and so forth. And it means that if there is a disaster that happens, this is a rationale, if there's a disaster that happens then the county or the state or whomever would have to pay out more. So this is the this is the basis for these designations. But unfortunately, again, it’s different. Houston, for example, floods all the time. These other places all the time, but somehow they're able to build. But this community is not allowed to build. Not only do they have these signs up, but people come through the community all the time. These code enforcement people come through all the time and you wonder how it is… when often county officials and counties are so under resourced, they have the resources to constantly surveilling these communities for for code violations to improve on the homes that are in so in much need of improvement.

1:36:12: And so when we go and we see that situation - again, we haven't even gotten to the worst of it, because of that floodplain designation, then they are “eligible” for the FEMA buyout program, which for these communities, because the property values are so low, with no water and services and so forth. So you can imagine what the property values are assessed. And so once those property values starts to get assessed…who benefits? There's a spoken word duo named Climbing Poetry and they talked about the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, they're based in New York area and they said who? And then one of the words of their spoken word performances, who, who pays and who gets paid. And that's really the whole situation. Who benefits and who doesn't? And and this is a classic situation. So when they assess the property values and then they subtract the amount that it would cost to demolish the homes and the structures on the property - and so for for properties that have been in these families for generations and generations, properties that were originally settled and bought by folks who built the infrastructure of this country as enslaved labor, and we're finally able to pull enough pennies together to buy that land for themselves and for their descendants, people are given a check for $350. It is the absolute ultimate injustice. You really have to ask some questions about how all of this comes about.

1:38:07: It's really just a heartbreaking situation and we know that there must be designs on that community, like between the vigilance of the code enforcement, the fact that there are pennies on the dollar for the purchase of these properties and the fact that just walking distance from the community are communities that have like…these nice homes with like gates that open automatically. It is a very, very, very different situation than what we see in Sand Branch.

1:38:43:And yes, so this is exactly what we're doing now is really working with the community to fix it. We had a town hall meeting on Saturday to begin to pull the community together. We have done that. The person who invited me, she was with the NAACP locally there, and she used to be with the Sheriff's Department there. And so I used to go to the community. When she retired, she had it in her heart to do something about the situation…She relentlessly asked question after question. So now we have information to be able to share with the community about what's going on because they don't know that money has been allocated to the community, they don't know that there's people who who are supposed to actually deal with the water situation. They don't know that people have tried to address the floodplain designation. And so we see that that there's an intention to keep community in the dark. So, we’re really making sure that they both have the information that they need as well as the resources they need to be able to organize. And we know that once communities come together and once communities start asking the questions, what's going to start to build the power, justice can prevail.

1:40:05: We were working in Sand Branch trying to get them to that side, meanwhile celebrating a victory in Randolph, Arizona, where they had a gas plant that was built, but they're trying to plan to quadruple their outputs there and poison the community even more than they already are suffering from health effects, and we have been working with community - doing legal briefs, doing testimony with the Public Utilities Commission.

1:40:31: And one of the meetings, there literally wasn't a dry eye in the house as the community told…story after story…there literally was not a dry eye in the house, but yet the Public Utilities Commission was still voting in favor…this gas plant. But after continued relentless education campaign, social media campaign and the community continuing to tell their story and then having individual conversations with the Public Utilities commissioners, there was a victory to celebrate there. The community was able to get it. So the Public Utility Commission voted against the permit four to one, and so it's crushed, and so yes, definitely the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was that victory.

1:41:51: We were celebrating that. And so we know what's possible when communities come together and we know that we know that as we organize that, as communities organize, as they build power, as they build strategy, they can achieve victory. And so we know that we're confident this will also happen for Sand Branch. But it's a shame that in in that Public Utilities Commission conversation, they had to actually affirm their their humanity. Someone actually said during their testimony, “I am a human being”. To have to say that, to feel so dehumanized that you have to affirm your humanity is just heartbreaking.

1:43:47: Bob Doppelt, Coordinator, International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC) and author of Prevent and Healing Climate Trauma: A Guide to Building Resilience and Hope in Communities

The work we do, we see that if we're not going to address the climate emergency or really any other of these issues, traumas that we're all experiencing, unless it is all these kinds of issues are addressed unless we address the historic and intergenerational traumas that drive many of these patterns.

1:45:15: Howard Lawrence, Coordinator, Abundant Alberta, Canada

1:45:43: I am speaking to you from Treaty 6 land, which is stolen from our Indigenous peoples, and we're seeking to make reparations, but also to learn from the first peoples of our country. And we've learned a lot, and interdependence and respect for the land. And there's a saying that we have - the Indigenous peoples have taught us - all my relations and recognizing that we're all connected and particularly connected in the land, in proximity and the people that dwell on those lands.

1:46:32: I'm from the City of Edmonton, so I'm a city staff. And our city of a million, Edmonton, has a history of, from the United States, actually the social center movement, which was citizens organizing at the human scale neighborhood level, gathering together in a participatory democracy. Gathering together to discuss the issues at hand. Reclaiming their power as residents and as neighborhoods or as the village, really.

1:47:07: We have that history. Some of our social infrastructure, and I say social infrastructure to point out the difference between physical infrastructure. So maybe I could say the social infrastructure is sometimes understood in the United States, which is the built environment, the coffee shops, the libraries and whatnot. We distinguish that for the social infrastructure of block parties, community action, meetings together. And so we have that legacy, but it was lost. We ended up like so many other Western countries or Western cities where walls have mysteriously come between us and our neighbors.

1:48:20: How do we address this issue? There is a movement in this regard and this little Canadian advertisement, this is a nationwide coffee shop have picked up on the movement of neighboring and they're selling their coffee, but they're really speaking to the current context of neighboring in Canada.

1:48:46: Howard plays a commercial as a demonstration of Neighbouring

1:51:09: There is definitely an impulse toward neighboring, and this is important. The notion of parenting is the act of being a good parent. The notion of neighboring, which isn’t in the dictionary as we've recaptured it, is the act of being a good neighbor. And this is so important on so many fronts in our society that we just need to be active and set up an educational structure by which we can not only teach people how to neighbor again, but also teach them the practices of neighboring. And this video definitely helps with that.

1:52:02: : So we see many things, but this is helpful to people. We talk about relational nutrients. As we talked to the citizenry of Edmonton, we put out this concept of relational nutrients which resonates with the idea of nutrients. We say that in order to have healthy body, you need a robust diet. In order to have an emotionally healthy life, you need to have all of your relational nutrients in order - family, which is a unique kind of socially supportive relationship which brings to you diversity over a period of time, with support with people you don't necessarily like.

1:52:44: I have friends and friendship which is based on a foci….They’re picked according to a specific affinity and which is helpful and good. It's a supportive social relationship.

1:53:06: But the one that's in short supply or have been lacking - this is the neighboring relationship, which has qualities of family, qualities of friends. It is you know who you get like a family. There's diversity in the neighborhood - you saw in the video we have quite a bit of diversity in our Canadian neighborhoods and particularly in our Edmonton neighborhood, and it happens to be a weak tie relationship which we explain the dynamics of of neighboring. They're not friendship based, they’re neighboring based. So privacy is fundamental. Reciprocity is a big part of the neighboring relationship. So it's still part of the social contract.

1:53:51: So we know what’s in place. And in fact, one of the key parts of the neighboring relationship is this reciprocity.

1:54:11: So there's just this weak tie relationship, as my grandmother taught us in the strength of weak ties. It’s this weak tie relationship that has tremendous power or strength when we need it. So when trouble comes, we stand in solidarity as neighbors as long as we created a connection.

1:54:33: So this is the dimensions of neighboring - ambient neighboring. You have a neighboring vibe. We need to feel like our neighborhood is something, that there is a “there” there. And there's lots of ways of doing this…We need to have a definable neighborhood and then we need to have, and this is important in order for neighborhoods to reclaim their power, they need to have a leadership in place for their neighborhoods.

1:55:06: With this then, we really can launch healthy neighboring relationships, which are so important for us.

1:55:15: So important, so this where the city of Edmonton steps in and says yes, we need strong neighboring relationships. Now have to say we're dealing with well over 40 neighborhoods, 40 municipalities that are also inquiring of this framework that we put in place for all these reasons from inclusion, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability to residential retention, all of these things are benefited by the strengthening of the neighboring relationship.

1:55:47: So an example would be urban isolation through COVID…How does neighboring factor in urban isolation?

1:55:59: Howard plays a commercial as a demonstration

1:57:09: We use asset-based community development to talk about layering functions. So in that scenario you see a senior is no longer isolated but the young person is actually raised as a capable citizen of the neighborhood. There's really an undertone of disaster preparation that takes place in there and disaster great mitigation in some respects.

1:57:33: We’ve worked with the provincial government, state government and we've spoken about Daniel Aldrich's work which speaks to the fact that one of, if not the number one predictor of disaster survival and number one predictor disaster recovery, is how well you know your neighbors. And so through that lens, our provincial government has put out for us to use in our municipalities in Alberta and Edmonton, a short video that helps us to move beyond just knowing this is helpful, to how to make it helpful. So you'll see in this one, here's the why you should do neighboring and then here is the how to do neighboring and these are very simple, but difficult to do, actions for our citizens.

1:58:25: Howard plays a commercial as a demonstration

1:59:25: That’s a great question - how many people do you know your neighborhood? Well, we actually focus that in and recognize that the building block is actually connected block, building floor, or cul-de-sac. And so in a human scale neighborhood ,and that's probably around 1000 homes, maybe 2000 homes, and that's a very important point in this framework because we're taking responsibility for one another. We need to pay attention to what human scale neighborhood is.

1:59:53: If that gets inflated, then all of the power leaks out of that neighborhood. So human scale neighborhood, 1000 individuals, is going to be 20 blocks or cul-de-sacs. Our goal is to find a block connector to enable the neighborhood through its leadership, again neighbor leadership, to identify a person on each block who would become the block connector. And that block connector has certain responsibilities. They become a point person for the block in a primal sort of way, the party person for the block, getting something like a block social together once or twice a year, again is a weak tie relationship. So we just want you to know each other. I think that list of good ways to neighbor included a neighborhood contact list. Put that together and then listen to one another. So this takes you from that anonymous individual… to the particularized individual, particular to the block and then particular to the neighborhood as we listen to one another.

2:01:03: Howard discusses examples of ways to be a good neighbor

2:01:48: This is the structured way that we do it. We have resources for people to get their neighborhood organized, and you can see this one resource for block connectors, how to be a block connector, it's maybe too structured for some, but gives a tool for somebody to hang on to.

Howard discusses Connector Card and Guide

2:02:32: So we divide the block into approximately 20 households.

Howard discusses strategies for connecting the block

2:03:26: Over time…many people on the block are going to chip in and make sure that you always have these blocks socials. Once you do that, over a number of years, the block social gains momentum, the contact list gets more substantial, and people are looking in on each other in a way that's really natural.

2:04:17: Howard plays a video from his block as an example of a connected block

2:06:47: Daniel Homsey, Director, The San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Network

2:07:19: I'm the director of the Neighborhood Empowerment Network. We've been running this program for about 12 years. It was born out of these social justice lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina…So the Neighborhood Empowerment Network - we are a coalition of city, government, nonprofit, academic institutions, faith-based organizations, foundations, using collective impact approach on building strong and resilient communities. And it's a key pillar of our work here in San Francisco right now when it comes to social justice and equity and climate change, for example.

2:08:14: So as a quick baseline,…we’re all about fire and water. Last Friday was 90 degrees in San Francisco. Today it's raining or just stop raining, but the whole world is going through a really tough time, especially at the neighborhood level. So this is what it’s like in Australia during fire season. This is what your employment might look like in Greece during fire season. And this is what it looks like to live in Venice now and during the high tides and trying to get through the city.

2:08:50: So everywhere you look, everything can change. This is perhaps the one image everyone really wants to maybe forget. And this a retirement home in Upstate New York after Hurricane Sandy. These are dozens of local residents that were left behind to shelter in place in three feet of water infested with sewage. And anyone who's got parents or a heart would realize that this is not even close to being acceptable. Even unacceptable is not the right term. This is a tragedy and and this is everything that motivates us to make sure this never happens again, but consistently this does happen over and over again, especially communities with fast moving large scale disasters.

2:09:35: Personally, for me, this work really amplified for myself when my mother moved to Cloverdale, California, north of San Francisco, in the middle of the wine country. It seemed like a really good idea 20 years ago. But as we all know, the last five or six years has been overwhelming when it comes to wildfire season.

2:10:07: Just so you know, how the science works is we get diablo winds in the summer that blow from the top of the screen down to San Francisco, and so fires when they start, blow South. So my mother's town has never actually had a direct threat from fire, but has been impacted indirectly by the fire many times…

2:10:29: This is what evacuation zones look like during a wildfire.

2:10:40: The reality is that the red zones are mandatory, the blue zones are volunteer. What we found during these wildfires, is in these red zones, dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of seniors and people without access to functional needs are left behind. Many of them survived, but were really traumatized, and unfortunately many of them were killed in their homes by the wildfire because they were unable to get away quickly enough. And I think for all of us in the emergency management business, that is not an acceptable outcome and we need to be more proactive. We also realize it’s just not fair to ask first responders to be everywhere at all times, it’s just not physically possible. So we need really our neighborhoods and our neighbors to be those responders and be there when they need them the most.

2:11:24: So what happened in this case, is my mother…Actually, my sister said my mother was actually sheltering in place in Cloverdale during the last massive wildfire and they turned off all the natural gas electricity to her retirement development. She lived in a Del Webb development, about 250 homes of seniors that are retired to the community, many conditions with dementia, oxygen machines…And they were all sheltering in place for five days. They had no access to supermarkets, no access to gas stations, no access to hot heat, the ability to cook. They weren’t able to make phone calls. They weren't able to access the Internet, access the news. And you can imagine for seniors, living at home by themselves can be an incredibly traumatic experience.

2:12:14: So here in the city, we have a program that we call the Strong Block Program and as block connectors per Howard presentation, we refer to the leads of the neighborhood as Block Champions.

I’m the Block Champion on my block. I want to be clear - I’m not going to ask anyone to do anything that I haven't already done myself.

2:12:30: This is the kit that we set up…I packed up everything on the screen here solar power generators, deep fryers,…and I went to supermarket, bought $300 in groceries and headed north to the fire. I finally did arrive in Cloverdale at night. I was able to set up the lights in the house and I had my mother go get all of her neighbors who had been sheltering in place by themselves for three days, had them come over to the house - they all had run out of food. They were cold, hungry and sitting in the dark and being traumatized.

2:13:45: So we were halfway through this event, we decided to turn the corner and actually keep this process going. So I had my mother set up what we called the Block Support Center, so the block connector if you will…And her neighbors all came together and they began to create a tracking document to identify all the neighbors on the block and go check on them, do wellness checks because the police department was overwhelmed and couldn’t do wellness checks. So they were checking on their neighbors, making sure they were safe and healthy. Several of them had dementia and would only answer the door for someone they knew. And so even if a first responder knocked on the door, they wouldn’t answer the door. So it was up to my mother and her friends to be that first responder and there was also an information hub. So as people combined information about the restoration of power and service, my mom collected the information and shared it with everyone else on the block.

2:14:33: Back to the the work we're doing here in San Francisco, the Neighborhood Empowerment Network, we’ve been around for over a decade, we’ve been recognized in best practice from the CDC, the Ash Center, FEMA, UNISDR, World Bank, and now Mexico City and even Vancouver, Canada has actually read out to us, we’ve been working with them in the past.

2:15:04: Our strategy is really simple. Overall, we focus on connection, capacity, and resources…Social cohesion with your immediate neighbors is the most valuable resource you can have during times of stress. We always put the most important community members that we want to ensure their health and wellbeing in the center of our conversations.

2:15:43: We also work with their immediate household members to ensure that they can step in so that person who has in home care…,these people can step in and actually replace the services they normally get from a professional. We want to make sure their houses are strong and resilient and reflect their needs and abilities. We want to work with their social networks and make their network realize the critical role they play during disasters, Don't assume the fire department is coming for your close friend or neighbor. Be the first to act and if they come, great, if not, I’ll be able to say I was able to intervene and make the right decisions when it was needed. And then of course our civic partners as well. It's always important there's so many civic networks that are set up to help these residents. They need to be connected strongly to them as well.

2:16:27: What happens in disaster…every day, people across this country and this planet rely on these central life lines to stay healthy. When you turn them off for a variety of reasons, including of course, issues regarding power outages, heat waves, poor air quality, pandemics and earthquakes, things go wrong and this is consistent. What we see in many disasters is lifeline disruption. Service disruption immediately generates trauma for residents.

2:16:57: What happens is they reach out to their immediate neighbors for help, especially if their phones aren't working. And so the efficacy and the connectivity at block level is their first line of response and survival. And our goal is to make sure those networks are in place and those residents know what to do.

2:17:14: So how do we do that? Well, I'll be honest with you, I've been around the block for a long time and organizing close to 18 years, and the truth is, that for a lot of folks who understand the importance of this work and want to activate and be part of this conversation, the truth is, holding meetings at their house about disasters or going up in and and engaging residents with some intentionality about some of this work, sometimes feel comfortable doing that. They want to find some kind of activity that they can bring people together around that's positive but still achieve their goals. And so we, my background is in managing nightclubs and I was in the restaurant business and catering, and I realized that one of the key essential activities after a massive earthquake, for example, is that people help each other and feed each other. What’s the most common way people do that on a regular basis in their neighborhood? That's their block parties.

2:18:08: So we create the Neighbor Fest program and the Neighbor Fest program provides participants with a playbook that offered step-by-step guidance on how to assemble a leadership team and a host committee, how to come together, write a plan how to actually implement that plan, how to come together right before your block party and basically establish situation awareness, run your block party and then have a fantastic event that brings all your neighbors together, increase the level of social connectivity among all residents regardless of their language, age, social or economic condition and well-being standards, and then ultimately regroup after that block party to an after action report to figure out a way to work more effectively as a team and write a better plan and execute it. And then ultimately, we bring them together to actually run an exercise. They want to repurpose all the skills and relationships that they developed in that block party and actually purpose them to respond to severe time of stress to protect their neighbors.

2:19:03: In San Francisco, we've run this program for about six years and of course the pandemic gave us a huge opportunity to test the efficacy of this work. And so we reached back out to the 125 block party hosts that participated, and almost a third of them participated in our discovery process and…there was an 80-point assessment

2:19:52: So what's next? Well, we after our meeting with all the hosts and finding about their successes during the pandemic, they said, listen, it's great knowing our neighbors, but that doesn't mean we know how to help them during a disaster. And I put that out there to my colleagues on the call today and…this new layer that we're going to add is that knowing someone that's in a home and living with chronic condition is the start, but helping them manage that chronic condition, while they're sheltering in place for the period of time in the absence of first responders, that could be a completely different mission. And I would argue that if we don't prepare that individual for those responsibilities, we could actually not only amplify the trauma for the person sheltering in place, but we can also amplify the trauma for the person committed to helping them.

2:20:41: So what we’re doing is creating something called the Block Response Team. The Block Response Team pivots the host committee from the Block Party and actually turns it into a team that learns how to come together, actually go out, conduct wellness checks, bring back that information, convert that information into an action plan, to try and solve as many problems as they can at the block level, and then give them strategies for reaching out to the formal response network to help those neighbors with problems that they can't solve.

2:21:06: Remarkably what we do find is when people are sheltering in place, the emotional visit support that they get from their neighbors is actually perhaps the most valuable support they will get in reducing the trauma.

2:21:17: And in fact, we actually secured new guidance from the National Center for Children and Trauma on how to actually activate post disaster and and engage the adults and anyone else in the community in an effective way to reduce the trauma of the disaster.

2:21:35: Daniel explains the NEN Block Response Team Process Diagram

2:22:54: Here’s the neighborhood I live in. We actually have been running this program for four years now, we have over 35 Block Champions in the community who are all set up ready to go to work with their neighbors. And what's exciting is beyond the diversity of challenges we have in our communities sometimes, there's so many different folks living in our communities now. Some are monolingual immigrants who don't speak English. What we found is for these folks, the block parties are a chance to connect with them and build some baseline, rapport with them. Even though we speak the same language, they know who each other are. And since much of the information we share in the block parties about our program is in the four most common languages spoken in San Francisco, they have an understanding that there's a team on the block that can come and help them during disaster.

2:25:10: Jenna Quinn, Environmental Justice, PACES Connection

I'm presenting on behalf of PACEs Connection and this is a brief introduction to PACEs science and environmental justice.

2:25:42: So for those of you that don't know, PACEs Connection is a social network that supports communities to accelerate the use of PACEs science to solve our most intractable problems. PACEs stands for Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences.

2:25:58: We call ourselves the social network for the PACEs movement, so we're currently at 55,000 members who are sharing best practices from their communities based on PACEs science.

2:26:10 We have over 430 communities on PACEs connections. These are communities of cities, countries, states and interest-based communities like trauma-informed libraries or PACEs in education, PACEs medical schools. So all different topics. We like to call ourselves a community of communities because we want to maximize connections and spread information about PACEs science and trauma-informed practices.

2:26:38: We believe there are five parts of PACEs science. So these five key parts are the foundation of piece of science and their epidemiology.

Jenna reads the five parts of PACEs Science

2:27:23: So at PACEs Connection, we encourage you to become a member. Today membership is free and open to the public. With becoming a member you get connections. You are connected to like minded individuals all around the world. We have initiatives on every continent besides Antarctica, you can access it access, to resources, so PACEs connection has one of the most extensive and comprehensive online collection of trauma-informed and healing-centered resources and tools, and we're adding to this resource collection every single day. We also encourage you to start a movement. So we know that healing happens within community, and you can either connect with an existing PACEs community or start your own. And we also offer consulting services. So like I said, I'm the environmental justice consultant for PACEs Connection, but we also have people who consult in education and criminal justice and outwards in many other fields.

2:28:28: Jenna reads the Kaiser ACE Study Key Findings

2:29:22: Jenna reads Impact of ACE Score of 4 or More

2:29:49: And these are just a few of the many health consequences as a result of exposure to toxic stress. And you might be wondering why these experiences have these effects on somebody. And that's because of toxic stress. We know positive stress is good for you. It's good to be nervous before presentation. It's good to be nervous before your first day of school. That's a healthy kind of stress. But it becomes a problem when these stressors are every day, every week, or multiple times a day. So that's when there is extreme frequent or extended activation of the body’s stress response without a buffering presence. So something like a positive childhood experience.

2:30:31: So these are some consequences of lifetime exposure to violence and abuse. So there's many different consequences that you can see in your lifespan. There's increased mental health risks, increased risk for cancer, infectious disease, among many, many other types.

2:30:52: Jenna reads the Original 10 ACEs

2:31:17: And referring back to the Kaiser Permanente study, it is important to note that although the study was of 17,000 adults, which is a very good sample size, most of the adults in the study were well-educated, middle class, white adults, meaning that their outcomes are probably better than the average population.

2:31:41: So you might be wondering how ACEs relate to the environment. So nowadays, based on current research, we think of there being three categories of ACEs. So there's adverse childhood experiences, adverse community experiences, and adverse climate experiences.

2:31:08: So here you'll see the environment is working on intercessors and climate change, so things that have been talked about today such as record heat and droughts, wildfires and smokes, record storms, flooding, mud slides, sea level rise, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and pandemics, which is obviously something that we are all very familiar with,

2:31:34: But we are all affected by climate change and natural disasters, and extreme weather events. But some of us are more affected than others, and there's a lot of disparities that exist around the world.

2:32:48: Jenna reads slide on existing disparities

2:32:28: So you can see there are specific populations…that have a higher burden, so higher higher climate burden.

2:33:31: Today I'm going to talk about one specific example of policy that happened in the early 20th century that has had long standing effects all around the United States, and that's redlining…Redlining is an illegal discriminatory practice in which a mortgage lender denies loans, or insurance providers restrict services to certain areas of community. And when this practice was put in place, it was obviously a legal practice at the time, and it was used for lenders to determine the “perceived riskiness” of lending to a person who might be looking to buy in an area. So just to look at one specific city, for example, Boston, which is where I currently live. This is a map of Boston and the areas in green were the best - the ones that were going to have most likely to have the best results for your lending or for mortgage lenders, blue was desirable, yellow to red - hazardous and declining.

2:34:52: If you're familiar with the Boston area, then you'd notice these colors line up with different minority groups and where they tend to live in the city. And that's generally how when this map was created back in 1938, also lined up with the majority of the time. That was really what this scale is based off of. Today, we see the effects of redlining all over the US. It's happening in cities all over the US. Some of the effects that we see are urban heat islands, flooding, air pollution, noise pollution and increased density of oil and gas wells, which also increases pollution.

2:35:31: So continuing on with the Boston example, this is from a heat resilience study done by the City of Boston and it compares current temperatures in the Boston area compared to what the area was graded as in terms of redlining. So best, still desirable, declining or hazardous. The best on the left here are still cooler in the day. They have more parkland. Staying with still desirable areas. C or declining has the same temperature as the city and less parkland, but slightly more tree covered, so somewhere in the middle. Then D hazardous or the areas that were the most redlined, even to this day, hotter in the day, hotter at night - have 16% less parkland and 7% less tree cover than the city’s median average.

2:36:30: We know from this presentation and from what we heard from other presenters today, there are a of couple things we know. We know where minority identities intersect. The health consequences of climate change are magnified. So if you think of different identities, like people's ability level, people’s gender identity, their immigration status, their veteran status, these all can intersect and overlap and increase somebody's vulnerability to climate change. We know that when lower income communities face disaster, recovery is slower, leading to an increased vulnerability to weather events happening during the recovery period. We know that at-risk communities are less prepared to deal with extreme climate events, and we know that these events create historical and collective traumas.

2:37:19: Another example that I think we're all familiar with Hurricane Katrina. So this is a report that was done after the fact titled “United States: Hurricane Katrina hit minorities in New Orleans hardest and without active intervention, the next disaster will do so again”. So this brings me to my next point, which is the idea of equitable recovery. So how do we respond to disasters that have happened and rebuild in a way that's going to benefit people who need the most help?

2:37:48: So we can recover equitably, we can build community resilience so that we help those who need it most. There are a number of ways we can do that, and these are things like increasing resources ahead of time to known disadvantaged groups, understanding the wealth of the state as a whole as well as within the state. So, for example, we know there are certain states like.Massachusetts or California, New York, Texas that have more money as a state as a whole versus states like Louisiana and Mississippi. So certain states will be able to better help their residents financially, and therefore we should understand that ahead of time and keep that in mind with recovery plans.

2:38:34: We can you put in place preemptive community relocation for vulnerable areas. So, looking at food maps and seeing who's vulnerable and financially assisting people who need to recover and can move them to safer areas where they can live for a longer period of time or people will become vulnerable again.

2:38:51: Updating outdated infrastructure most prevalent in underfunded communities. So these are things like old sewer lines or old water pipes that might burst in a flood, or the outdated power grid that's probably in some communities that could cause long term power outages or hinder recovery efforts.

2:39:15: And lastly, incentives for low income homeowners to make proper updates to their house to reduce risk of loss during storms. So all of these are things that could be included in the idea of environmental justice.

2:39:27: And for those of you who are not familiar, environmental justice is a fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations and policies. The two key parts are fair treatment and meaningful involvement. Fair treatment means that no population bears a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences, and meaningful development requires effective access to decision makers for all.

2:41:53: Bob Doppelt, Coordinator, International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC) and author of Prevent and Healing Climate Trauma: A Guide to Building Resilience and Hope in Communities

I'm going to go back through the five foundational areas that we think are really important to focus on to prevent and heal mental health problems that are going to be generated by the climate emergency and engage local residents and solutions to this problem. And all this has to be done within the context of the community-based program, what we call Resilience Coordinating Coalition. Again, they have to bring together all sorts of residents, civic groups and organizations to jointly plan and implement and continually improve a wide range of activities that are age- and culturally-appropriate, that help the entire community learn skills, develop systems to prevent and heal mental health and psychosocial problems. So here's an example of what we call the Ring Team Approach.

2:42:48: One of the first is to establish those age- and culturally-accountable opportunities for residents to heal their traumas…Can you think about how your community or your neighborhood can establish healing circles or somatic healing or expressive therapies or mindfulness, spiritual healing, nature-based and memorial events? We really need to put a major emphasis on that in the clinical treatment, which many…in the mental health field do, are really the backup system to help people who so after engaging in these activities, still cannot function or are at risk of harming themselves or harming others. But the behavioral health approach is not going to be the key. It's going to be very important, but it won't be the key to preventing or healing mental health problems.

2:43:45: At the same time, these are all interconnected. Again, we need to build social support networks across boundaries in the community…There’s bonding social support networks, also those strong ties that we talked about,…there's bridging social support networks, those are the weaker ties that we talked about. And then there's linking social support networks, that is connecting local residents with the people with power in organizations with resources that can help provide food, water, shelter, etc, or stop an unjust project happening.

2:44:29: And the third is to ensure a just transition by building support of local physical, built, economic and ecological conditions. This is something that people in the mental health and human services, ACEs and other professionals don't usually engage in. But this needs to be part of all these community-based resilience building initiatives and residents need to be actively involved. They have to be designed by neighborhoods and the residents and supported by them because they're the people affected by this. So it has to be done in a just and equitable way. This involves, as we could do this work, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change all in a just way. No one is disproportionately impacted.

2:45:20: Simultaneously, as people engage in those activities, everyone should learn what mental health and resilience is and how they can be sustained and what affects it - that is the neuropsychology of trauma, toxic stress, but in a very age- and culturally-appropriate way. Help everyone in your community become trauma informed and learn those presencing and purposing skills I talk about. This is done while you're doing these other activities. And at the same time, you want to engage residents in different ways - the neighborhood level to organizations to the YMCA, to the world, whatever it might be, and specific kinds of practices that we know, research knows, supports mental wellness and resilience, transformational resilience, especially in the midst of adversities.

2:46:15: It's going to be very important to help people find simple joys because things are going to look awful, hopeless often for many people. And to laugh often, laugh at the nature of human beings and laugh about our conditions, and practice forgiveness because the stresses that already exist and that are coming our way with the climate emergency are going to cause people to do things that are going to harm others. We need to practice forgiveness for that. It's not so much to allow those people off the hook. That's not what forgiveness is about. It's for us so we don't hold the anger and the resentment and the their desire for retribution that harms us.

2:46:59: But we also need to help people keep learning and learning more. Be grateful for what we have, for the connections we have, and care for their body.

2:47:08: All of this is interconnected. These five inner foundational areas that we have discovered and that you just heard about today, we didn't cover all, but they all have to be supported by social infrastructure in communities. We call it Resilience Coordinating Council and again, they have to engage a wide and diverse network of a coalition of individuals, groups, and organizations and all of the activities must be designed and implemented in a just and equitable way.

2:47:39: So just Imagine the benefits of Resilience Coordinating Coalition in your neighborhood or your community, working with different folks, working with different populations, but coordinating those activities very clearly together that are working to enhance everyone's capacity for mental wellness and resilience, transformational resilience, as the climate emergency worsens. And it is going to worsen.

2:48:07: So with that, let me just say that when we're building this kind of population level resilience, it will help prevent and heal many types of traumas. What we researched for two years with a team of 20 people were programs that you just heard from, some of them, but many others doing this kind of work. We didn't make this up and none of them really focused on the climate emergency. So doing this kind of work is going to help with implementing this kind of program to help with all sorts of human-caused traumas and emergencies, committing violence, substance abuse, ACEs, racism and more, as well as non-climate related environmental emergencies that would, imagine a coordinating coalition already established in your neighborhood community, would have helped with the pandemic. They will definitely help with earthquakes and these other kinds of problems.

2:49:00 And so what's required to build this kind of global movement? We think there are three core elements or a number of other smaller ones, but one is…we need to build leadership, learning exchanges, we need leadership. I guess it was how leadership at the neighborhood level, at the community level and it's not authoritarian leadership. It's participatory servant leadership and we really need to train people and help people learn those skills, that mindset, etc.

2:49:41: Also, we need transformations, communities of practice, and that is people who want to work in communities with these Resilience Coordinate Coalitions, learning the skills, learning capacities, communicating with each other.

2:49:59: And we all need to begin to push for new policies and funding streams at all levels of society. This has to happen at the state, local, regional, provincial, if you're not in the US, and federal levels, national levels. The ITRC has developed the Resilience for All Act that establishes an office of mental wellness and resilience to oversee this kind of program and funds this kind of work…And we encourage everyone to begin to think about how do we authorize, support, and fund community-based initiatives that build population-level or universal capacity for mental wellness resilience to prevent and heal all sorts of traumas.

2:50:57: So I want to close with just three takeaways. One is, as I tried to emphasize and I think you all know, we humanity is in the midst of a civilization-changing mega-emergency. And if we leave this unaddressed, it's going to produce never-before-seen in modern society scale and scope of individual, community and societal traumas well beyond what normally occurs, as James Gordon talked about, in terms of what life is filled with.

2:51:30: To address that, we need a public health approach to mental health that supports whole community, age and culturally accountable initiatives that build universal capacity for mental wellness and resilience, not focused just on specific populations, the most vulnerable, etc. They have to have special attention, but they should be brought into something much larger.

2:51:55: And the presencing and purposing skills that I talked about that are involved with preventing healing traumas - if people begin to learn all that and engage in those other five foundational areas, it’s going to motivate many people to go out and help others and create innovative solutions to the climate crisis and many other issues as a way to heal themselves. That's what purposing is about- finding your purpose in the midst of adversity as a way to help yourself and you also help other people.

2:52:58: Jesse Kohler, Executive Director, CTIPP

2:53:27: Just a real quick wrap up that I want to share is three and-a-half months ago when this workshop series began, we were talking about the importance of building cross-sector community coalitions. And as I listened throughout this session, I learned the importance of doing that in a whole new way and a lot of new strategies to be able to do so as well. So this was really an enlightening and empowering, I felt, session to address an emerging, very real crisis that is here right now that will continue to emerge and grow in the near future and likely the long-term future as Bob was talking about as well. So we need to be prepared to build a systemic response and create that population level resilience.


bottom of page