Dominos: Mental health impacts of Australia’s environmental crises

This article talks about the impact of “domino crises” in Australia and begins to suggest a way forward. Psychiatrist and author of this piece, Alan Rosen, defines “domino crises” as recurrent adverse events. Rosen highlights that recurrent environmental crises become harder to recover from and that the closer they are in time together the harder they are to recover from.

Rosen highlights the frequency of climate crises make it harder for societies to take the time to develop the protective factors and strategic resilience necessary keep the population feeling stable.

Rosen’s article makes an interesting turn, linking this experience with something he suggests has long been felt by First Nations folks, in the loss of their own lands and continued witnessing of the degradation of the land. Rosen posits a return back to Indigenous ways of caring for the land, lead by First Nations folks as a core way of healing from these compounding crises. Rosen uses evidence from how First Nations communities mobilised and supported one another in Australia from the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the article ends shortly after this without really unpacking this point in more depth. Within current sustainability and restoration practice, there is a turning towards returning to First Nations wisdom, but perhaps what is missing is the more challenging conversation of who this is for and if enough has been done to heal the colonial traumas that continue to be enacted before asking First Nations communities to save our own. Read the article in full here.

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