From the bushfires to coronavirus, our old ‘normal’ is gone forever. So what’s next?

An image of bushfires, and a close-up of the coronavirus
9 April 2020

The world faces profound disruption. For Australians who lived through the most horrific fire season on record, there has been no time to recover. The next crisis is now upon us in the form of COVID-19. As we grapple with uncertainty and upheaval, it’s clear that our old “normal” will never be recovered.

Radical changes like these can be interpreted through the lens of “rupture”. As the social scientist Christian Lund describes, ruptures are “open moments, when opportunities and risks multiply… when new structural scaffolding is erected”.

The concept of rupture therefore explains what happens during periods of profound change – such as colonisation or environmental catastrophe – when relationships between people, governments and the environment get reconfigured.

This can help us to make sense of the bushfire crisis and COVID-19: we are in an open moment, when the status quo is in flux.

Read the full article by Dr Sarah Milne, A/Prof Carolyn Hendriks, and A/Prof Sango Mahanty on The Conversation