The Deep Adaptation Forum launches

People who are alive to the likelihood of society collapsing in our lifetimes will not be alone for long. But for now, we are few and far between. Despite 200,000 people downloading my Deep Adaptation paper, in most professional circles this topic remains taboo, and certainly not a priority within strategies, budgets or meetings. This situation means people find it challenging to work on the professional implications of their concerns. Yet the longer we delay our exploration of what to do and how, the more likely it will be that organisations and societies respond poorly in future.
There are many professional fields that are relevant to our predicament, including mainstream climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction, mental health, permaculture and so on. Because a society that breaks down will affect all walks of life – and so all of us can do something to help each other prepare, whether from within our current role or a new one.

To extend the glide of our societies and soften the crash, the goal must be for every professional association, think tank, trade union, and research institute, to develop their own work on collapse-readiness. Before that happens, we can connect around the world and support each other to play a role in our professions and locations when the time arrives.

It is for these reasons that today we launch the Deep Adaptation Forum. It is the next step for those of us who accept likely collapse to work together now and thereby mark the way for our colleagues to follow in time. Through this free forum you can join regular webinars, seek advice and co-create shared resources for your field of expertise.

We concentrate mainly on:
* hosting regular video meetings among our members;
* managing jointly edited documents on relevant resources, initiatives, and knowledge needs;
* enabling in-person dialogues within local communities and professional sectors;
* and maintaining an event calendar.
The Forum is not a space for:
* debating climate science or chronicling the latest bad weather;
* disputing whether societal collapse is likely to occur;
* or arguing that near-term human extinction is now inevitable.

Such discussions occur in many other places, and instead, this Forum is solely dedicated to serving those who wish to explore collapse-readiness in all its potential forms, from the practical, to political, emotional and spiritual.

We invite a diversity of opinion, including a diversity of political approaches, so long as these do not advocate forms of fascism or violent conflict. We also invite participants, if they wish, to employ the Deep Adaptation framework. That means exploring what the concepts of resilience, relinquishment, restoration and reconciliation could mean for our profession or interest. Therefore, it will be useful if you read the Deep Adaptation paper and blog on Reconciliation before participating in the Forum.

There is no need to wait for your fellow professionals to wake up to our predicament.

There is no need to spend much time justifying yourself.

There is no need to rage against ignorance.

Instead, we can start to live our truth together now.

I look forward to connecting in the Forum.

Professor Jem Bendell, Founder of the Deep Adaptation Forum.

Note that the Forum is the place for professional collaboration. If you simply want to see the latest posts from professionals in this field, join our LinkedIn Group. If you have a general interest but don’t work on it, then join our Positive Deep Adaptation group on Facebook.

10 thoughts on “The Deep Adaptation Forum launches”

  1. Jackie Carpenter BSc CEng MIMechE
    My areas of work
    1 Chartered Engineer
    I am a retired chartered engineer.
    I was a consultant on renewable energy and sustainability issues.
    I am a past President of the Women’s Engineering Society which is celebrating its centenary this year (2019). Tasks include:
    • Giving speeches at centenary events (using this platform to mention deep adaptation)
    • Producing a pdf publication celebrating Technical Women who have worked on Sustainability over the last 100 years
    2 Cohousing
    I am a Director of the UK Cohousing Network. We have recently taken on responsibility for the National Advice Centre for Community-Led Housing. Tasks in the immediate future include:
    • Participating in training for giving advice on community-led housing and setting up a consultancy through which I shall give advice about climate-friendly communities as a deep adaptation strategy
    • Liaising between cohousing communities and Extinction Rebellion
    • Helping to develop clear, simple governance documents for international communities that embrace a nonviolent approach
    I live at and support Trelay Cohousing Community. Tasks in the immediate future include:
    • Convening the vegetable patch group plus regular work to grow vegetables and fruit on a permaculture eco-friendly basis
    • Project coordinator for a new central community building (which will include a quiet room/ spiritual space) as a centre of learning for deep adaptation.
    • Convenor reviewing the Governance of the Trelay Cohousing Community.
    3 Quakers
    I carry out voluntary work for Quakers. Tasks include:
    • Editor of “An Krenner Kernewek, The Cornish Friend”
    • Convenor for the CAM Sustainability Group (about to kick this off)
    • Member of the committee that organised the Devon and Cornwall gathering at Sheldon in 2018 and is organising the Quaker Sustainability Weekend Gathering, Carthvean Farm, August 2019
    4 Author
    I have written a book called, “Hope on the Slope”.
    Jackie Carpenter 6th March 2019

  2. I’m curious about your sense of the ways in which people engaging with the extraordinary requirements of this task can prepare themselves for it. In particular I observe that the maladaptive norms of our civilization that seem to me to be primarily driving the process of collapse also live largely unconsciously in and through all of us. And that a new normal which can provide a viable reference point for adequate responses to what is coming towards us from the future does not yet exist. The only way I can see for this to emerge as a basis for deep collaboration is through mutual cultivation of our own discernment to a level deeper than that which informs the norms driving collapse. I’m passionately interested in the question of how this can be accomplished in the context of the deep adaptation agenda you have laid out.

  3. I’ll dive right in. My experience – I realized about 4 years ago that we were in a TON of trouble; not in 2100 but today. The emotional impact on me was significant. It was much like a grieving process. I have four awesome kids, generation “Z”. I sometimes wonder if that is a coincidence. The probability of my 5-yar-old seeing his 20th birthday are way to low. I am convinced we are the last ones unless we manage to “science” our way out of this or…aliens….both of which are astronomically improbable.

    It’s frustrating, looking around, and seeing ZERO action by our community leaders. “They must have better information than me?”. Yet, their approach only makes things worse. Most of our governments approaches do little to nothing. It’s mostly just gestures with no real impact. I live in Canada. I have come to the conclusion that my government is the largest threat to my family and act criminally. I tell them as such but they don’t appear to be listening 🙂

    The realization sent me into significant turmoil. I rejigged my entire life. My family thinks I lost my mind. My (old) friends think I am nuts. That’s fine. I have to act appropriately with the information I have in hand.

    I quit my job and downgraded our lifestyle significantly. I stay home with my kids. They are getting a really bad deal… We home school and I work on building problem solving techniques and emotional intelligence with them. We build robots to complete specific tasks and talk about ways to manage our emotions in stressful times. Coding, building, creating. Meditation, mindfulness and genuine love.

    I ‘prep’ but not by hoarding. I have enough food in the house to get us through a month of disturbance but my approach is different.

    I volunteer more than I work these days. Building immediate community has become a priority. Finding like-minded people is difficult. It’s a long hard crawl. The robotics community is great. We rarely talk climate change but we are always focused on preparing our children. Building practical skills in my kids has become priority. First Aid, WHIMIS, health and safety and every other skill-set they can acquire. They will need these skill sets, but, the main reason to teach them is to give them tools, confidence, so when they face their largest challenges they may feel ready.

    When the realization really ‘kicks in’ you look around and think, “this is insanity”. The guilt I have experienced has been difficult to manage. How could I have been so naive? Why isn’t anyone doing anything? The conversation we are having as a people is “off the rails”.

    I fantasize about a time when people really understand our predicament and actually do something, anything.

    I sometimes think that Elon Musk is not trying to figure out how to live on Mars. He is trying to figure out how to live on Earth. If you want to figure out how to live on an inhospitable planet, don’t bother going to the expense of traveling to another planet, just wait 8 years.

    My hope is that, with the forecasted 3-years of record heat we are starring down, people will come to their senses and we can approach our shared circumstances with dignity, humility and determination.

  4. Do we have agreed or working definitions of economic collapse, societal collapse and social collapse?

    (The corollary being, is it possible to discuss what exactly might collapse, and what could be kept functioning or recovered, hopefully better than now, especially social systems and some forms of cooperation, even at scale? Or have we got to accept that almost everything definitely collapses, including absolutely all international financial systems, all electricity grids, on every continent, without possibility to recover within 10 years? And that we’re definitely in a stone age/prepper situation, and no way are even 2 continents still choosing to trade with each other or help each other out a little? By the way, for the next 10-30 years, in my understanding this really narrows things down to absolutely the most extreme X-risk scenarios, most of which are not at all related to climate change, and maybe a few cascading risk scenarios, mostly with a nuclear trigger.)

    ie. are we saying “only the most extreme collapses allowed to be discussed here, nothing that we might semi-recover from without first having mass death in most continents – nothing that we handle better than the medieval plague/ Black Death was handled” and “if you want to participate here, you’ve really got to believe that no ‘holding actions’ (as described by Joanna Macy) and no amelioration, and no new basis for cooperation helps prevent mass death once a shock is underway”.

    I’m saying this because I hope that’s not a required position, but then I anticipate there will be some tension between those who assume or even hope that all financial systems and national governments would collapse, and those who imagine that something like a WW2 all-in-it-together response could be created by grassroots action, and some inspired civil and agricultural responses, maybe with a Martin Luther King or Mandela-like or Nightingale-like figure, in at least some countries.

    This matters, as it will determine whether the forum leans towards and is comfortable with determined prepper-lifeboat/anarchist/far left vanguard viewpoints (which I have had a painful time interacting with, and wouldn’t want to stay here if they become pervasive or dominant) or towards light-in-the-darkness, pro-cooperation, the redemptive/prophetic and transformative/reconciliatory action which I’m obviously biased towards.

    The former might include people who genuinely want Monsanto and Shell managers and directors to be the first up against the wall and jailed if not shot, whereas the latter would want all their capacity and resources and teamwork used to do the maximum amount of recovery and lifesaving work ASAP (even if their ownership was not immediately and completely nationalised, assuming there was enough of a nation state left to do that).

    Obviously from how I have framed this, I lean towards the more hopeful end of doom and reconciliation. I’m interested to hear back from Jem and existing admins.

    Final notes:

    We have already had 2 relatively minor MBBFs this century (2007-8 food price spike and the worse but better managed events in 2010-11).

    Systemic shock and GCR scenarios affecting 10-50% of global agriculture are much more likely to kill most of us, or affect most of our countries, in the next 50 years, than a solar storm taking out power grids, or an outright X-risk ( = human extinction risk) scenario.

    So insisting on complete loss of power grids, and an end of all trade, and only abrupt or runaway climate scenarios would be a venn diagram where the circles don’t overlap at all ie. we would have defined the forum so narrowly as to exclude absolutely all conceivable scenarios that could realistically happen in the next 10-20 years. This to me seems to defeat the purpose of the forum in the first place, which was to address something that is really happen quite soon (namely a range of fairly likely MBBF and GCR scenarios that could collapse economic systems globally, though not necessarily forever and everywhere) and would leave the forum populated in large part by those who are absolutely determined that we are heading towards unredeemable hell, or that the whole and only solution is to smash capitalism, and who mainly feel and communicate anger rather than despair, fear and the full range of emotions discussed elsewhere in the forum.

    Determinedly assuming that we first time around face most THE most extreme scenario and that humans respond badly or not at all, (which is already not true, as this forum and ALLFED and CSER etc suggest rather well) seems going deliberately and fixedly more negative than can be justified with Jem’s references, and would paint us into a marginal corner from which we may never emerge to interact with others who have already been working on global catastrophic risk and X-risk and cascading scenarios for more than a decade, but with far more realistic and justifiable assumptions both on the geoscience and on the social science side. (I don’t mean the IPCC, which I agree tends to be over-cautious – also, it’s not a GCR body but a climate science body.)

    1. Jem offered a definition of collapse in the original paper and is still working on that definition: “uneven ending of normal modes of sustenance, security, pleasure, identity, meaning, and hope”. He’s not trying to predict in too much detail – it could be that since society is a complex system, we shouldn’t spend too much time predicting. For all we know the future could be anything from Gupta’s “Collapse is living like the people who grow your coffee” to the movie “The Road”.

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