Strategy Options Dialogue for Deep Adaptation

Guest blog from Peter Wicks, a moderator of the Positive Deep Adaptation facebook group and coordinator of the strategy options dialogue.  

“It happened while I was having lunch with a friend. Recently bereaved, I was looking for new ways to engage with the world. My friend said, “Have you heard the term Deep Adaptation?” No, I hadn’t, but it sounded interesting, so when I got back I texted her. “What was the name of that Facebook group you were talking about?”

So I joined the group, and then started wondering. Is this really a group I want to be involved with? I hadn’t yet read Jem’s paper, but I had become aware of his exchange with Jeremy Lent. So I decided to read that exchange from beginning to end, starting with Jem’s paper. That was the clincher. This was definitely a group I wanted to be part of.

I wasn’t just looking for new ways to engage with the world (although I was certainly finding them). I was looking for connection, for help with my own grieving process. And for a way of envisioning the future that wasn’t based on denial of what was actually happening on our planet, but could nevertheless inspire me. Frankly, to give me reason to live, and the motivation to take care of myself. And the Positive Deep Adaptation (PDA) Facebook group played a key role in providing that.

And then I got a message from David Baum asking me, “Do you want to be a moderator?” I didn’t hesitate for one second: it just felt right. So I became a moderator, and then a couple of months later Jem was like, “How about co-ordinating a strategy dialogue?”

“A what?” I asked.

And that question is now in the process of being answered.

From February 29 to April 24 2020, the Deep Adaptation Forum (DAF) Strategy Options Dialogue will convene to look into the following three questions:

  • What range of activities should be pursued under the Deep Adaptation (DA) umbrella, and the different possible rationales for pursuing those activities?
  • What specific role could an emerging international network play in this context, and on what kind of timescale?
  • What are the key strengths of existing structures that can be deployed to serve these objectives (including, possibly, implications regarding organisation, governance, and funding)?

Between the Facebook Positive Deep Adaptation group, the Professions’ Network, and our LinkedIn group, several thousands have now joined us in the international online spaces we created, alongside the 17 local, regional or thematic Deep Adaptation Affiliated Groups that have gathered in response. As many as 15,000 people are now participating in the activities of the DAF as a whole, sharing a multitude of insights and supporting one another in dealing with the grief that comes with realising – in addition to whatever else has been going on in our lives – the extent of our global predicament, and collaborating on various new initiatives around the four Rs of DA: Resilience, Relinquishment, Restoration and Reconciliation.

Through this dialogue, and building on the vast richness of insights and ideas that have been and are being created within and around the DAF, and emerging from our shared hopes, fears and dreams, we hope to generate clear strategic options and ideas for action, and thus assist in the urgent task of clarifying priorities for DA-related activities, and the role that an emerging international network could play.

Ideas from these sessions will then be summarised into a Strategy Options Paper, which the DAF core team will then decide on and implement, subject to availability of funds and in consultation with relevant governance structures (notably the new DAF Holding Group).

At the heart of the dialogue will be a series of online conversations (on Zoom), gently guided by experienced volunteer facilitators through a participative democratic process, and bringing together people with different levels of engagement within the forum: DA volunteers and core team members who have long been active participants, other DAF members who have been less involved up to now, and people from outside the forum that we will invite to join us for some extra wisdom. Each session will happen consecutively over two different time slots, in the hope that people can join in from anywhere in the world, with a maximum of 25 to 30 participants per meeting exploring these questions together with their peers with curiosity and compassion. Interested? Then please don’t hesitate to apply here (right now!) to be involved in this endeavour to help our species be the best we can be in this time of transition.

In addition, written submissions are invited on behalf of groups of volunteers within the DAF ecosystem (i.e. PN volunteers, PDA moderators, PDA Facilitators, DA Advocates, Affiliated Groups). We recommend such submissions are signed off by at least a few volunteers within those groups. Written submissions will not be used to base Zoom conversations on. Instead, they will be listed on a page within the Professions’ Network, to be discussed there. In addition they will be briefly summarised in an annex of the final Strategy Options Paper. The Core Team will therefore respond to the written submissions when they respond to the Strategy Options Paper in Q3 2020. Please send your written submission to the Acting Coordinator, Dorian.

A background document on Deep Adaptation strategy development written by Professor Bendell may be of interest if you decide to participate in the process.

Thankyou to Diana, Vicky, Kelly, Christian, Dean, Chiara, Kathryn, Dorian and Jem for helping us get to this point of launching the dialogue.