Deep Adaptation Quarterly – Oct 2019

Every three months, this newsletter will summarise some of the most important activities that are associated with the Deep Adaptation Forum. Did you have a conversation recently with someone about your outlook on life and society, and how things are changing for you? If they seemed interested, then you could consider forwarding them this newsletter, as their gateway into another world. They can subscribe here.

Key Commentary

Just over six months ago Professor Jem Bendell launched the Deep Adaptation Forum, including its key components of the Positive Deep Adaptation Facebook Group and the Professions’ Network on Ning. To mark that he summarised some of the activities that are happening and why.

To mark a year after the Deep Adaptation paper came out, he published a Compendium of Research on the climate emergency. He continues to blog about the latest issues. For instance, he commented on the row when the New Yorker was criticised for publishing a piece on climate pessimism. He should know, having just Interviewed climate scientist Dr Wolfgang Knorr, who believes his profession was wrong to play down the sense of alarm that the climate data called for. Jem’s latest blog supports extinction rebellion which kicked off again this month. XR’s own Youtube Channel carried a 20 minute conversation with Jem where he talked about how the movement can increasingly incorporate adaptation.

The Forum Q&A series continued with Adrian Tait, co-founder of the Climate Psychology Alliance and Deb Ozarko, author of Beyond Hope. Next up talking with Jem will be Vanessa Andriotti and then Charles Eisenstein. To attend these Q&As to pose your own questions, please join the Professions’ Network of the Deep Adaptation Forum (for free).

New Initiatives

Here are some new activities to support the movement.

Deep Listening for Deep Adaptation

A group of skilled and experienced volunteer facilitators, supported by the DA team, is launching a series of regular online gatherings, open to members of the PDA Facebook community, that will focus on the sacred art of listening. These online gatherings will provide a space for connection with other members across the world, where we can openly share our responses to awareness of a breakdown in our global climate and its increasing impacts on nature and humanity worldwide. We have found that when we engage and talk with others who do not think that we are confused, depressed, or irresponsible to have concluded that climate change now threatens societal collapse, we find solidarity, joy and pathways for how to be and what to do in future. They may be spaces for people to articulate to themselves and one another what their fears, hopes, anxieties are in such a way that they are more capable in their local communities to raise the conversation. The approaches we will use will encourage mindful awareness and acceptance of the range of personal and collective emotional responses to a realization of imminent collapse of civilization and our way of life.

The first of these offerings will take place on 29th October, 3-4.30pm (UK). In time the schedule will be extended to include weekly gatherings accessible to members in all continents. Amongst us, we will offer different formats and approaches, but all will be brought with the intention of creating safe space for deep listening.

Deep Adaptation Groups Network

There is growing interest around the world to gather with others who sense that climate change is now destroying lives and threatening our way of life. People are creating groups in their communities, or on specific aspects of Deep Adaptation. To help people taking such initiative to be able to support and advise each other, we launched the Deep Adaptation Groups Network with twelve founding member groups. If you have started or might start a group, please read about this initiative, to find support.

Facilitators’ Gatherings

To support the ability of volunteer facilitators to support Deep Listening for Deep Adaptation, as well as other gatherings, we have launched a regular online ‘gather and share’ for experienced facilitators. This is for facilitators who feel drawn to share their wisdom and gift in holding online and in-person spaces to support others within their journey of becoming aware of the crisis that is unfolding. The purpose of these gatherings is to offer a space where we can share practices that are aligned with the values of Deep Adaptation, and support each other in creating and hosting regular DA groups in future. Participants are asked to commit to hosting regular gatherings, which may be themed or for a particular audience (e.g. parents’ group, country/region groups etc). The group convenes on Facebook, with updates also available in the Holistic Approaches and Guidance discussion group.

Discussion on the Professions’ Network of the Deep Adaptation Forum

On the Ning, the various discussion groups are generating interesting ideas. Here are some of the highlights.

Holistic Approaches and Guidance

Several members have posted invitations to and feedback from related events. Justine Afra Huxley posted some valuable feedback from St Ethelburga’s second pilot retreat; Susie Peat called for participation in an Encounters Arts event around what it means to be living in this time; and Ami Chen Mills sent out an invitation to the newly-launched Free Friday Webinars.

There have been a variety of interesting conversations on and off the forum: Naresh Giangrande shared his EcoCiv podcast with Jeremy Lent on Deep Adaptation or Deep Transformation; Steve Raney shared a topic from’s Uncertain Future Future Forum; and Laure Delmas a link to Awakening to non-fear in a Climate Crisis. Valuable discussions were sparked when Prof. Bendell called for input from psychotherapists on the question of Learned Helplessness.

For anyone looking for specific tools and approaches that are useful in a DA guidance practice: Kirsty Johnsson has called for collaboration on designing a somatic practice around Deep Adaptation; Moshe Givental has offered to share his experience in The Work That Connects; Dan Vie offered an example of a workshop writeup from Hollyhock retreat that practitioners might find useful; and Kimberley Hare offered her expertise in the Three Principles.
More holistic approaches and guidance…

Narrative & Messaging

During our August gathering, we talked about the idea that DA has to be political. That’s how things get done collectively, and that’s also how we could tactically build a new system/world in the heart of the old one. Politicians should be involved — that’s how progressive movements have succeeded in Ireland — and we could even offer them psychological support when it comes to climate collapse, acknowledging that this is difficult but letting them know that as our elected officials, we need them to help build this new world. Compassion is important to communicating with the politicians and media who need to know about Deep Adaptation.
More narrative & messaging…


Some of the best recent threads in this discussion group include:
The ethics of choosing between two bad choices. Read…
Pontoon archipelago, or: How I learned to stop worrying and love collapse. Read…
Climate refugees and the issues around borders, geopolitics, responsibility, and reparations, among others. Read…
How researchers and policymakers relay information regarding societal collapse to the public. Read…
The potential rise in misanthropy in response to climate change impacts upon those least responsible for it, including the natural world. Read…
Implicatory denial as a sociological phenomenon of social inaction to climate change. Read…
Appeal for a new group on the DA Forum dedicated to climate fiction (cli-fi) and the arts. Read…
Introduction to the degrowth movement. Read…
More philosophy…

Food & Agriculture

Recognizing that good systems are highly diverse and vary widely across localities, the group has been looking for commonalities among locations and beat practices that can be easily adapted to fit local conditions.
One common goal, which can be applied everywhere with various methods, is the support of permaculture methods of tending to land, with a particular focus on promoting carbon sequestration in soil and plant life. The potential for changes in agricultural practices is enormous, both in terms of human impact (resilience of the food system, more nutritious food) and climate mitigation (calories per unit area farmed, carbon intensity).
More Food & Ag…

Check out to discover other discussion groups that focus on areas of professional interest.

Positive Deep Adaptation Facebook Group

The PDA Facebook group is huge, vibrant and growing fast. The moderators do an amazing job to keep the conversations kind and on topic. If you haven’t been on it, here is one interesting thread amongst thousands (names changed for anonymity):

I’ve only seen about 10 or so posts on this page but I’m confused. Is this group all about just giving up?
Hi, Doug. It’s about adapting. This can take many forms. As members of this group, however, we accept that ecological and social collapse are inevitable or very probable. Accepting that – how do we go forward? Yes to mitigation and activism for some – because we can still do some good, if we choose to, even though we can’t completely reverse the trend. Some of us focus on learning permaculture skills or creating community. Others work through their grief. We’re here to support each other in our personal journeys.
Not giving up, just accepting that we can’t stop collapse. There’s still a chance to avoid extinction. But I do have an issue with the dominant feeling that small actions “won’t make a difference”. Sure, they won’t stop the problems, but we don’t abandon care for terminal patients just because it won’t make a difference. Terminal care makes the most important difference that can be made.
I joined mostly to learn how others are staying sane. I plant native species for other creatures in hope they will outlive me.
For me… it’s be still, allow it all in, accept what Is in the moment, surrender to what Is, grieve, come back to stillness… then take action. If by “giving up” it means stopping the madness for a time to connect then… yeah. Life’s too short and precious to be persisting with the same old same old capitalist driven pursuits of isolated self protection, futile jobs for the Man and educating our children to pass exams. Give up what lacks Soul and start living.
Doug Thanks for the responses. Glad this group isn’t just about giving up. Just wanted to make sure.

Upcoming Deep Adaptation Events

There is now a roster of Deep Adaptation speakers and workshop leaders. Start here to request a speaker to your event. You can advertise your own events for free on either the Ning or the Facebook group.

Deep Adaptation Dialogue: Great Barrington, Massachusetts, USA
An intergenerational gathering to share and discuss Deep Adaptation to climate disruption, hosted by Bard College at Simon’s Rock professor Jennifer Browdy, with the participation of many local community organizations, including the Alliance for a Viable Future, South Berkshire Climate Change & Consciousness Hub and Living the Change Berkshires.

Grounding Our Work in Shared Joy, Grief, and Vision
Join us each month in creating a web-space for emotional and spiritual support for all of us working on and thinking about climate change and environmental justice. This is for those of us who have an inkling that Climate Denial might not just be a corporate and political strategy (though it is that too), but also that denial is a stage of coping with grief and fear, which we all need support with. It’s for all of us who yearn to do this work in a way which makes us more emotionally resilient and joyful. This is not a place for frontal learning or arguments about best solutions, but a time in which we’ll build upon each other’s wisdom, as we share Our Joy, Our Grief, and Our Visions.

Q & A with Vanessa Andreotti
Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti holds a Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change, at the Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She has extensive experience working across sectors internationally in areas of education related to global justice, community engagement, indigenous knowledge systems and internationalization. Her research focuses on analyses of historical and systemic patterns of reproduction of knowledge and inequalities and how these mobilize global imaginaries that limit or enable different possibilities for (co)existence and global change. She is currently directing research projects and teaching initiatives related to social innovations that gesture towards decolonial futures.

<!––>Deep Adaptation Dialogue: Teesside Artists<!––>
This Deep Adaptation Dialogue works to extend the reach and amplify conversations around Deep Adaptation with creative arts practitioners in the Teesside area. In particular, the dialogue, through engaging with writers, artists and creative industry professionals, will disseminate Deep Adaptation connections into programmes and curatorial schedules, further reaching participants’ audiences and communities.
More upcoming events…

Dean Walker’s published these reflections on the Deep Adaptation retreat in Greece last June, led by Prof Bendell and Katie Carr. The next course that Professor Jem Bendell leads is in April 2020 in the Lake District, UK.

Recommended Reading

For those who prefer long-form intellectual nourishment, we’ve enjoyed the following books.

After Progress by John Michael Greer considers how more than two hundred years of energy abundance has meant that the notion of progress is now deep in the collective unconscious. Assuming progress is our natural destiny of progress means that we don’t imagine our society could end; we dismiss even existential threats as mere obstacles and cannot see decline for what it is, or prepare for it.

Questioning Collapse by Patricia A. McAnany and Norman Yoffee (eds). Writing largely in response to Jared Diamond’s popular book on collapse, this collection of essays comprehensively refutes most of Diamond’s case studies arguing that collapse is a poor framing for those historical events and further that by characterising them that way, we miss the real lessons of resilience of adaptation.

Who Do We Choose to Be? by Margaret Wheatley. Having accepted that decline and collapse is inevitable, Wheatley doesn’t wish to spend her time and leadership skills lobbying the political and financial elites. This thoughtful book is about leadership and making a difference at the local level where action is still possible.

So We’re Growing But Fragile

Thanks for reading this far. All these activities, and many more, are driven by dozens of volunteers around the world, who are supported and coordinated by a small team of 4 freelancers: Dorian Cave, Katie Carr, Zori Tomova and Matthew Slater. We want to keep everything growing into 2020, and not water-down our outlook or narrow our aims to suit large donors. Therefore, on Halloween we start a 10 day crowdfund campaign. You will hear from us again then. We won’t trick you so please treat us!

The list of the Founding Members of the Deep Adaptation Groups Network includes:

Adaptación Profunda Positiva #APP (Positive Deep Adaptation – Jem Bendell) For the Spanish speaking community. Contact: Aline Van Moerbeke

Adaptation radicale : un guide pour naviguer dans la tragédie climatique For the French speaking world. Contact: Julien Lecaille

Deep Adaptation Discussion and Action Group A space to discuss the four “R’s” and how these questions may be used to redesign our individual lives, livelihoods, etc. and how they may apply to us, our households and communities. Contact: Silvia di Blasio.

Deep Adaptation Hungary – Készülj & Alkalmazkodj – for the Hungarian community, to share, support, plan and move ahead, together. Contact: Balazs Stumpf-Biro

Deep Adaptation Ireland For those located on the island of Ireland. Contact: Cian Langan

Deep Adaptation Parenting A safe and nurturing place for parents to share their thoughts, emotions, ideas, and resources on the topic of raising children in this challenging time.

Positive Deep Adaptation UK Local group, focused on the concerns of people based in the UK, who have shown an interest in the Deep Adaptation paper written by Jem Bendell in 2018, and the issues it throws up. Contact: John Cossham

Deep Adaptation | Wie leben im Angesicht der Klimakrise? For German-speaking people, mostly from Germany.

Dyp tilpasning Norwegian group, open to Swedes and Danish people as our language is understandable across borders. Contact: Sigrid Haugen

PNW Positive Deep Adaptation For the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Contact: Jim Chastain

Positive Deep Adaptation Oceania – Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand etc For the respective region. Contact: Aimee Maxwell

Positive Deep Adaptation: Santa Cruz County and Monterey Bay, CA For Santa Cruz County and Monterey Bay, California, US. Contact: Ami Chen Mills-Naim

Practical PDA Focusing on practical adaptation. Contact: Sarah Bittle

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