Bushfires are ‘Australia’s war’ and that means we need a battle plan

What does a resilient community look like?

People in bushfire-affected communities often feel a link between regrowth of the bush and their own recovery. (Image: AAP)

Solastalgia has been described as the wider sense of loss felt when one’s home environment is damaged or degraded – a concept not unfamiliar to people who live in bushfire-affected areas.

Professor Lisa Gibbs, Director of the Child and Community Wellbeing Unit at the University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, led a research project that traced people’s experiences as part of bushfire-affected communities.

The project identified that community support groups and building social connections are fundamental in the long journey of rebuilding lives and communities, helping to reduce the personal and psychological impacts of a disaster…


Bushfires are ‘Australia’s war’ and that means we need a battle planbu

As a blaze tore through from the Orroral Valley, troops were ready to evacuate my 88-year-old father from his nursing home. It was the first place that would be hit if Canberra’s suburbs were overrun. Flames were visible from the windows of the nursing home and as darkness fell, Mt Tennent’s menacing glow loomed overhead.

As the fire front bore down, army personnel were poised with military vehicles to extract scores of the frightened, immobile elderly. Ahead of the expected path of the fire, military engineers were building critical fire breaks. In the air, surveillance aircraft and even small drones assisted with mapping the fire progress…


Building Resilience to Natural Disasters in Populated African Mountain Ecosystems

As part of CAWR’s Stabilisation Agriculture Programme, I recently visited Chimanimani district in Zimbabwe to initiate comparative research on how conventional and agroecologically managed landscapes coped with the impacts of Cyclone Idai in March 2019. Idai deposited the total annual rainfall in the first twelve hours alone – yet sat over and devastated Chimanimani for three days.

This wasn’t the first time I’d visited Chimanimani. In fact, I undertook my own doctoral research on social farming and conflict in this same area over 2016-17 and, however ‘participatory’ my action research was designed to be, I was keenly aware that it was still bound to be fundamentally extractive. I was therefore honoured, and excited, to have been asked to return to be part of an interdisciplinary team of, primarily Zimbabwean, researchers; and to co-develop action research with some of those same farming communities as they seek to make meaning out of the devastation, and be part of facilitating community-generated change processes capable of reducing social vulnerabilities and mitigating future impacts….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s