1st Edition

Preventing and Healing Climate Traumas A Guide to Building Resilience and Hope in Communities

By Bob Doppelt Copyright 2023
    256 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Using extensive research, interviews with program leaders, and examples, Preventing and Healing Climate Traumas is a step-by-step guide for organizing community-based, culturally tailored, population-level mental wellness and resilience-building initiatives to prevent and heal individual and collective climate traumas.

    This book describes how to use a public health approach to build universal capacity for mental wellness and transformational resilience by engaging community members in building robust social support networks, making a just transition by regenerating local physical/built, economic, and ecological systems, learning how trauma and toxic stress can affect their body, mind, and emotions as well as age and culturally tailored mental wellness and resilience skills, and organizing group and community-minded events that help residents heal their traumas. These actions build community cohesion and efficacy as residents also engage in solutions to the climate emergency.

    This book is essential reading for grassroots, civic, non-profit, private, and public sector mental health, human services, disaster management, climate, faith, education, and other professionals, as well as members of the public concerned about these issues. Readers will come away from this book with practical methods—based on real-world examples—that they can use to organize and facilitate community-based initiatives that prevent and heal mental health and psycho-social-spiritual problems and reduce contributions to the climate crisis.

    Introduction 1

    Part I A Public Health Approach is Required to Build Population-Level Capacity for Mental Wellness and Transformational Resilience for the Long Climate Emergency

    1 Climate Overshoot “101”

    2 The Causes and Consequences of Individual, Community, and Societal Traumas

    3 Elements of a Public Health Approach to Enhancing Mental Wellness and Transformational Resilience for the Long Climate Emergency

    Part II Organizing and Operating Community-Based Initiatives that Build Universal Capacity for Mental Wellness and Transformational Resilience

    4 Get Organized

    5 Begin Building Community Capacity for Mental Wellness and Transformational Resilience

    6 Establish RCC Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans

    Part III The Five Foundational Areas RCCs Must Emphasize to Enhance Universal Capacity for Mental Wellness and Transformational Resilience for the Long Climate Emergency

    7 Build Social Connections across Boundaries in the Community

    8 Ensure a Just Transition by Creating Healthy, Safe, Just, and Equitable Climate-Resilient Local Physical/Built, Economic, and Ecological Conditions

    9 Cultivate Universal Literacy about Mental Wellness and Resilience

    10 Foster Engagement in Specific Practices that Support Mental Wellness and Resilience

    11 Establish Ongoing Opportunities for Residents to Heal Their Distresses and Traumas

    12 Continually Track Progress, Learn, Improve, and Plan for the Long Term

    Conclusion: The Need for a Global Movement to Enhance Universal Capacity for Mental Wellness and Transformational Resilience for the Civilization-Altering Climate Emergency


    Bob Doppelt coordinates the International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC), a global network working to prevent and heal the mental health and psycho-social-spiritual problems generated by the climate emergency.

    "The health of our planet is inherently connected to our well-being. Preventing climate trauma and supporting holistic healing and resilience in the ways that our diverse communities interact with the stresses of climate change is quickly becoming one of the biggest challenges of our generation. Bob Doppelt’s new book offers an essential blueprint towards building a healthier future in the places where we live."  Antonis Kousoulis, director for England and Wales, Mental Health Foundation, UK

    "The world is beginning to experience an epidemic of climate change-related mental and emotional distress that, regrettably, is likely to become a pandemic. Developing community-based approaches to promoting mental and emotional resilience in the face of climate change is one of humanity’s most pressing imperatives. In this book, one of the world’s leading experts, Bob Doppelt, shares his deep insights into how we rise to this challenge."  Edward Maibach, MPH, PhD, Distinguished University Professor and director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

    "I strongly encourage everyone to read this wonderful book because it emphasizes the importance and the magic of community work. It is about time we evolve from individualistic models of mental health care that focus on what is wrong with a person. The teachings this book provides will help us, our loved ones, and our communities face the climate change mental health crises successfully in a just and equitable way."  Carissa Cabán-Alemán, MD, associate professor, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, and member of the Climate Psychiatry Alliance

    "This is the book we’ve been waiting for. Frankly setting out the frightening and challenging effects of climate change, Bob Doppelt's book also gives us hope that by coming together as communities, we can help ourselves mitigate some of the worst impacts on our own lives and the lives of our families and our neighbours. This is an essential read for policy makers, practitioners, and community organisations."  Fiona Garven, director of the Scottish Community Development Centre, Glasgow, Scotland

    "The obvious consequences of climate change—extreme weather events, droughts, floods—sit among the clearer results of manmade global warming. This important new book from Bob Doppelt helps us mitigate the often invisible outcomes of global warming, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and trauma. Drawing on psychology, spirituality, and bottom up, community-based resilience practices, this monograph can help us build the capacity to manage mental wellness, recover from current and forthcoming shocks, and ensure equitable outcomes."  Daniel P. Aldrich, director of the Security and Resilience Studies Program at Northeastern University, and author of Building Resilience and Black Wave

    "Bob Doppelt is a recognized international leader on the human impact of climate change. His knowledge and wisdom illuminates Preventing and Healing Climate Traumas. This is a must read for anyone interested in conceptualizing new systems of support for our worldwide community."  Elaine Miller-Karas, cofounder of The Trauma Resource Institute

    "Ultimately, the responsibility for preventing and healing climate trauma falls to family, friends, and neighbours, the three supportive social units of our lives. As a municipality we are making way for this prevention and healing by resourcing and organizing the irreplaceable capacity of neighbourhoods to foster mental wellness and resilience. This new book by Bob Doppelt will serve us well as in this regard."  Howard Lawrence, Abundant Community Edmonton coordinator, Neighbourhoods Services, City of Edmonton, Canada

    "In this book Bob Doppelt presents a compelling argument that damage to person's mental health and overall well-being is occurring in reaction to the ever-increasing climatic disasters and that we have well-understood approaches for building population level resilience to mitigate these effects. It is critical that we implement these science-based approaches to increase our communities’ ability to more healthfully react to the inevitable increase in climate trauma. Bob provides the call to action."  David Shern, PhD, senior associate in the Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, and vice chair of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice

    "Bob Doppelt's new book offers high-impact recommendations on how to bring community resilience to the forefront of the climate change crisis. Bob excels at describing the impact a community-based approach has on cultivating the power of the collective spirit in addressing the health of our communities. Read it now and put it into action!"  Theresa Barila, founder and board president emeritus of the Community Resilience Initiative

    "Bob Doppelt is a leader in the movement to build effective community responses to climate change and prevent its most severe mental health impacts. This book contains solid information and insights that can be readily applied by community leaders, practitioners, and policymakers."  Howard Kurtzman, PhD, former senior science advisor (retired) to the American Psychological Association

    "Bob Doppelt is one of my heroes: a man who was far out ahead of the curve anticipating the psychological and social consequences of climate change and climate trauma. Read his new book because you and your loved ones are going to need the information that is in it."  Sandra L. Bloom, MD, associate professor of health management and policy, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University; cofounder of the Sanctuary Model and founder of Creating Presence

    "Bob Doppelt’s book sets out principles for challenging our growing global climate emergency. We can’t address a crisis of this magnitude with the same methodologies we’ve been using—we need to rescue those drowning AND address why they’re drowning in the first place. As Bob notes, this means focusing on community-level strategies that start with healing and foster resilience in our systems, communities, neighborhoods, and families."  Ruben Cantu, associate program director for community trauma, mental health, and violence prevention, Prevention Institute

    "We are at a crossroads in our country in terms of how we understand and respond to mental health. At a time when the eco-anxiety of young people is at an all time high, we need concrete, research-based strategies to support them in navigating in a rapidly changing world. Bob's book lays out a clear framework on how to do it and should be required reading for anyone working on adaptation and mitigation strategies for our climate."  Lil Milagro Henriquez, executive director and founder, Mycelium Youth Network

    "If you are in the fight against climate change, it can actually be easier to face what is happening and the damage that is surely coming. But for most people, that is not the case, and a new type of community action is needed. A key chapter in this important book tells us to ‘begin building community capacity for mental wellness and transformational resilience,’ and that about says it all. The book describes how to do that. It is needed today and will be even more so in the years to come."  James Gustave Speth, former dean, Yale School of the Environment

    "As much as I wish we didn’t need this book, at this point I am not sure we can live without it. A practical guide to understanding what we must do to prepare ourselves for the reality of the climate crisis, Bob's book outlines concrete, accessible strategies we can implement now, to build upon the incredible resilience that is in all of us, individually and even more so, collectively. I am beyond grateful for this engaging, thought-provoking, well-researched, powerful resource."  Ann DuPre Rogers, LCSW, executive director, Resources for Resilience™, coauthor, Reconnect for Resilience™ 

    "Bob Doppelt's new book weaves together intersections of prevention science and environmental science to elevate a self-healing journey where social connection is key, raising hope comes with concrete action steps, and resilience helps us move forward with increased community-wide wellness to mitigate the impacts of toxic stressors and traumas we increasingly face as humanity, including harsh environmental and climate events. This book is hope raising...and we need it."  Kristi Slette, executive director, Whatcom Family and Community Network

    "Bob Doppelt has surfaced a critical problem that is grossly under addressed by climate solutions. He listened to the voice of the communities and the traditions of our ancestors that have taken us through the storms of the past and identified that it is only through strong community bonds and caring relationships and systems that we can weather present and future climate catastrophes."  Jacqui Patterson, founder and executive director, The Chisholm Legacy Project  

    "To build transformational resilience and hope amidst a global cataclysm, traditional diagnostic constructs and individual-based mental health treatments will not suffice. A community/population-based strategy is necessary, one with a focus on prevention. Bob Doppelt’s insightful approach outlines the complex dilemma of climate change and mental health and provides a pragmatic template for guiding communities toward wellness."  Andrew J. McLean, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences

    "In this sobering and insightful book, Bob Doppelt provides us with an immersion in the facts of our climate challenges and then the community-based ways we can rise to this moment in our collective human history to make the necessary changes in how we live while building our relationships with each other and with nature. The power of this book rests in its emotional intensity, bringing us from the realization of our fear and loss, to the empowerment and hope of potential growth."  Daniel J. Siegel, MD, New York Times bestselling author of IntraConnected: MWe (Me plus We) as the Integration of Self, Identity, and Belonging; executive director, Mindsight Institute; clinical professor, UCLA School of Medicine