presents Jem Bendell in Bristol

This is the first recorded lecture on Deep Adaptation, to 300 people in Bristol, UK. It uses a more informal format than a University lecture, inviting the audience to explore forms of action additional to cutting and drawing down carbon from the atmosphere – actions associated with personal and collective preparedness for coming disruption.

The lecture was accompanied by Toni Spencer, a facilitator who works on Deep Adaptation and Transition. She led the audience in a reflective process to explore feelings and ideas emerging. She also offered some poems and reflections during the process.

Members of the Climate Psychology Alliance spoke from the floor, explaining their new initiative to provide therapeutic support to people working on or affected by this agenda.

The event was organized by the local Constituency Labour Party and Momentum group, but made open to anyone with any political interest or none. To engage on this topic see

We thank Emilio Mula for filming and editing and Seeding Our Future for support to make it possible.

Prof Bendell will speak at several more public events in 2019.

Prof Bendell previously appeared on Scientists Warning TV in this collage.

6 thoughts on “ presents Jem Bendell in Bristol”

  1. First, thank you for speaking about this!

    Some of your policy suggestions really disturb me. E.g. Massive irrigated greenhouse building, desalination plants are two. Both of these will (as they already are) have a big impact on the natural world. Desalination plants are incredibly poisonous to water, when they dump the brine and chemicals back into waterways after processing. Any scheme that says “massive” on the front generally is human-centric and human-supremacy and favors one species (ours) over all others.

    Personally, I think “deep adaptation” shouldn’t do MORE harm to the natural world – it’s counter productive. We need to be preserving and restoring as much of the natural world as possible!

    Also, police (and militias) have always been used primarily by the state to protect government and corporate assets, at the expense of the poor, the indigenous, the disenfranchised, and used to quell rebellions against the status quo and against the elites. I do not see them ever being an ally.

    1. Jem is not in a position to make detailed policy proposals on all relevant areas so the suggestions he gives are merely ideas which should be properly discussed by experts before implementing. His point is though, that because of the emergency nature of the situation, some courses of action may involve hard-to-stomach amounts of risk. What if massive greenhouse building program could be expected to save a million lives in the event of a food security event? I don’t know, but I would consider it.

  2. Hello Jem,

    Would it be possible for you to make you presentation here in Shropshire? I could happily supply food and accommodation. I’d use a local retreat called the Bleddfa Centre (

    Please let me have your thoughts.

    Regards, John Davies

  3. I will watch this because I’m interested in your work… but for the record I am still furious about the fact you are encouraging people to fly to a retreat.

  4. I agree that preparedness for food system shock or MBBF (multiple breadbasket failure) is important for every major country / trading block.

    Prof David Denkenberger has outlined physical strategies in “Feeding Everyone No Matter What” (Elseviere)

    Irrigated greenhouses are tremendously expensive and high carbon – explores more viable and affordable options which could be deployed as needed, enabling us to focus present day resources on existing poverty, education and health needs.

    On financial/government preparedness, more has been done than most people realise – from Lloyds/Willis, see From the World Bank see the insurance facilities they have created for island nations and Africa – this could be extended to larger countries or even continents or trading groups. The chances are that the next 2 shocks will affect 1-3 continents and/or be temporary, so reinsurance, cat bonds, contingent credit and parametric insurance would really help, and that includes food importers like UK, Japan, Saudi and Norway.

    For more extreme scenarios, and cascading scenarios, a lot of work has been done by, CSER cambridge, Oxford Martin School, FHI Boston, Berkeley, Stanford, Cornell. In government, the most has been done by USA, UK, China, Netherlands.

    My own NGO (ALLFED) starts with the presumption that you just can’t prevent everything, least of all all MBBF, GCR and Xrisk scenarios, and that all of the above fails once markets realise we will abruptly lose more than 10% of global agricultural output in any given year, so the best part of resilience is rapid recovery or replacement of food systems, starting with the worst case, which is a 5 year volcanic winter or a solar storm / Carrington event.

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