The Creativity and Agency of Collapse-Anticipation

The Deep Adaptation agenda, framework and Forum is offered for anyone with any level of anticipation or experience of societal collapse. Whether people consider such a breakdown to be possible, probable, inevitable or already occurring, there is clearly a need to hold the space open for creativity and action from that basis. Since its launch in early 2019, the Deep Adaptation Forum aims to provide ways for people to explore together what they want to do with their awareness that industrial consumer societies will breakdown (or already beginning to). The emphasis is on enabling emergence, without imposing any ideas on what is most important to do now. Some people become active in climate campaigns, while others become focused on local resilience, others work on decolonisation and social justice, others on humanitarian action, others on politics, while others work on psychology, spirituality and beyond. All ideas and feelings are welcome, so long as we engage in ways that are kind, curious and respectful – and where we seek to return to that whenever we slip up. 

In this spirit the Core Team of the DA Forum invited volunteers or convene a Strategy Options Dialogue,  during which over a hundred participants from around the world engaged in creative deliberation about what the DA Forum might do in future. The report of their deliberations is available to read here. The Core Team assessed the ideas in this report against a number of factors, particularly capacity issues (as we are a tiny team of 2 ‘full time equivalent’ persons). Our report back to volunteers and the Holding Group which oversees the DA Forum is available to read here.

I am pleased to see attention to diversity and decolonisation, which resonates with what we have been focusing on recently. I am also pleased to see attention to matters of psychology and spirituality. All of these issues will be live in my conversation with XR co-founder Skeena Rathor on August 3rd.

The creativity and agency expressed by the participants in the Strategy Options dialogue provides further evidence confirming our recent survey of participants, which finds that the anticipation of societal collapse can motivate pro-social behaviours, and personal leadership on public issues. This creativity and agency is already spawning a range of spin-off initiatives, such as the Deep Adaptation Guidance site, which seeks to provide people with information on practices and practitioners to help individuals and groups find their way forward in these disturbing times. This creativity and agency is what I will remember with gratitude, if ever there are accusations that we are mistaken, counterproductive, peculiar or extreme. Participants and volunteers in the Deep Adaptation Forum show how humanity can be awesome even in the most difficult circumstances where old hopes, assumptions, identities and distractions no longer work.

Until this point our focus has been on helping people who already hold this perspective on our predicament, and so we have avoided outreach to mainstream media. In the coming months and years, people who do not share this perspective may push us into the public consciousness more than before, and so the preparatory work of the Strategy Options process will help whatever is to come from that increased attention.

Huge thanks to you if you were involved. I hope the team at the Forum will be able to work with you to make some of these ideas come into being.