The International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC), supported by The Resource Innovation Group (TRIG), is calling for a major West Coast initiative to prepare people for the adverse psychological and psycho-social-spiritual impacts of climate change. The Coalition released a report calling for transformational resilience education and skills training to become universal by 2025 to prepare people for climate traumas and toxic stresses.

Click here to see the ITRC report and examples of existing resilience programs on the west coast.

Devastating wildfires displaced hundreds on the west coast this year. Faced with the reality of injury or death of loved ones, losing their homes and livelihoods, and seeing their finances depleted, many experience significant psychological traumas that can negatively affect them, their family, and community for years. In response to these and the many other growing disasters and toxic stresses generated by climate change, the International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC) has issued a major report calling for psychological and psycho-social-spiritual–or transformational–resilience education and skills training to become universal across the west coast by 2025. “Much like everyone in society learns to read and write, personal and social–or transformational–resilience education and skills training must quickly become universal,” said Bob Doppelt, coordinator of the ITRC.

New report reflects contributions from several local residents

The report Preparing People on the West Coast for Climate Change is the outcome of an exploratory research project completed by the ITRC. Local UC Davis graduate student Naomi Duran contributed to the report research and several local Davis residents are on the report’s California Steering Committee. The research assessed the nature and potential to expand transformational resilience building initiatives in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. Transformational resilience is a framework for building psychological and psycho-social-spiritual resilience, not a specific method.

Local Davis resident and ITRC Steering Committee member Jan Beange said, “personal resilience skills will help people think and act in healthy ways even in unhealthy conditions. The idea is that resilience skills can motivate people to use climate and other adversities as a stimulus to increase their own well-being by assisting others or by helping to heal the planet,” Beange said.

Transformational resilience building involves helping people learn simple age, demographically, and culturally appropriate skills: a) Presencing–or self-regulation–skills enable them to calm their mind, body, and emotions when distressed; and b) Purposing–or adversity-based growth–skills enable people to use adversities as transformational catalysts to learn, grow, and find new positive sources of meaning, direction, and hope in life.

Survey of existing programs shows progress, report offers recommendations

The ITRC report found numerous well-established human resilience building programs already underway along the west coast, and more in development. To prepare people for the accelerating adversities generated by climate change, the report concludes with a set of recommendations to ensure that by 2025 transformational resilience education and skills training initiatives become universal region wide.

Jan Beange said, “the report makes it clear that preparing people for the psychological and psycho-social-traumas and toxic stresses generated by climate change is now just as urgent a priority as emission reductions and external physical adaptation.”

A number of people in the Davis Sacramento area are involved with the call for universal resilience training and plan to conduct human resilience trainings in the region.

The International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC) is a network of over 350 mental health, trauma treatment, social service, climate and environmental, disaster management, social justice, education, and faith leaders working to build widespread levels of psychological and psycho-social-spiritual resilience for the adversities generated by climate change. A 22-person National Steering Committee oversees the ITRC’s activities (their names and affiliations can be found on the ITRC website: ITRC California and Pacific Northwest steering committee members supervised the development of this report (the list of members can be found on the first page of the report).

The Resource Innovation Group (TRIG) is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan non-profit organization affiliated with the Sustainability Institute at Willamette University. TRIG’s mission is to address the human causes, impacts, and solutions to complex socio-economic-ecological challenges, with a special emphasis on climate change. By a decision of the TRIG Board of Directors in 2013, TRIG has decided to focus primarily on building personal and psychosocial resilience for climate change-enhanced traumas and stresses within individuals, organizations, communities, and society. TRIG was founded in 1996, as an affiliate of the Portland State University Hatfield School of Government. From 2002 through 2010 TRIG was affiliated with the Institute for a Sustainable Environment at the University of Oregon where it directed the Climate Leadership Initiative. Today, TRIG is affiliated with the Sustainability Institute at Willamette University, and is engaged in numerous partnerships and work with academic institutions, non-profits, private firms, and government agencies in the U.S. and globally.

TRIG Director Bob Doppelt has written four best-selling books on sustainability, climate change, and personal growth and change.

Contact Bob Doppelt or local contact Jan Beange for more information.