Deep Adaptation – the book

How on Earth do we begin to talk to each other and work from a starting point of experiencing or anticipating societal disruption and even collapse?

It needs to become the biggest conversation, with views from different contexts. I am still learning as I talk to more and more people from around the world. Some of them share their thoughts in this book, including Rene Suša, Sharon Stein, Vanessa Andreotti, Tereza Čajkova, and Dino Siwek, who are scholars and activists in decolonization efforts, and XR’s Skeena Rathor, who works on co-liberation from the systemic oppressions that underlie environmental destruction. With this detailed attention to the causes of climate chaos, I hope the book helps support a sober and non-divisive approach to navigating the implications.

I co-edited the book with Professor Rupert Read. We are especially delighted that someone who is an inspiration to us, Joanna Macy, co-writes of one the chapters. The contents follows below. The book is written as a scholarly contribution, mainly focused on informing people who take a professional interest in this topic, rather than the general public. It is now available for pre-sale.

“The authors of this book have courage to recognise the reality of our time and face the uncomfortable facts of climate calamity. The theme of this book is indeed scary. But it’s full of bright ideas for how to transmute both fear and difficulty into kind and wise ways of living and working. The thinkers, academics and activists who have contributed to this book embody the wisdom to adapt to this unprecedented catastrophe. They also show the practical ways and means to live and act with the imagination and resilience. Not everyone would agree to these radical ideas but everyone needs to know about them. So, I recommend this book to all.”
Satish Kumar, Editor Emeritus Resurgence & Ecologist and Founder, Schumacher College.

“This book is the “red pill” of our times- offering neither certainty nor confirmation of any story you may be holding about where we are heading, in the face of so many colliding crises. What it does offer is togetherness in our insecurity and frameworks in our unknowing, for coming to terms with and making sense of these times. I look forward to both “deep adaptation” and “collapsology” entering mainstream discourse, so that we might then imagine creating together, as our current paradigm crumbles.”
Gail Bradbrook, co-founder, Extinction Rebellion.

“Collapse followed by transformation is a common way that complex systems evolve. Perhaps collapse of our high consumption, climate-destabilising society can lead to transformation towards a brighter human future. The Deep Adaptation framework outlined in this book is a helpful way to seek that transformation.”
Professor Will Steffen, Australian National University Climate Change Institute.

“In this book I am joined by scholars from around the world who seek to be present to the suffering and difficulties of our time. Please turn toward these ideas, not away, to find your own path in a turbulent future.”
Joanna Macy, author of A Wild Love for the World.

Contents of Deep Adaptation, the book.

Introduction: What Next, Now That the Limits Have Been Breached?
Jem Bendell and Rupert Read

Part I The Predicament
1 What Climate Science Can and Cannot Tell Us About Our Predicament
Jem Bendell and Rupert Read
2 Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy
Jem Bendell
3 Reasons for Anticipating Collapse
Pablo Servigne, Raphaël Stevens, Gauthier Chapelle, Daniel Rodary

Part II Shifts in Being
4 Climate Psychology and its Relevance to Deep Adaptation
Adrian Tait
5 Deeper Implications of Societal Collapse: Co-liberation from the Ideology of E-s-c-a-p-e
Jem Bendell
6 Unconscious Addictions: Mapping Common Responses to Climate Change and Potential Climate Collapse
Rene Suša, Sharon Stein, Vanessa Andreotti, Tereza Čajkova, Dino Siwek, and the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures Collective
7 Facilitating Deep Adaptation: Enabling More Loving Conversations about Our Predicament
Katie Carr and Jem Bendell
8 The Great Turning: Reconnecting Through Collapse
Sean Kelly and Joanna Macy

Part III Shifts in Doing
9 Leadership and Management in a Context of Deep Adaptation
Jonathan Gosling
10 What Matters Most? Deep Education Conversations in a Climate of Change and Complexity
Charlotte von Bülow and Charlotte Simpson
11 Riding Two Horses: The Future of Politics and Activism, as We Face Potential Eco-driven Societal Collapse
Rupert Read
12 Relocalization as Deep Adaptation
Matthew Slater and Skeena Rathor

Concluding the Beginning of Deep Adaptation
Jem Bendell and Rupert Read

I am currently working on a sole-authored book where I will offer more of my own insights on this tough topic of responding positively to an anticipation of societal collapse. I apologise to people who have been asking me to share more analysis, but I was delayed by helping to set up a platform where people could share their own ideas of this agenda and only since leaving that work at the end of September 2020 have I been able to find sufficient time for thinking, research, and writing. If you speak French you can already read my thoughts in a book – Adaptation Radicale.

11 thoughts on “Deep Adaptation – the book”

  1. […] I am a middle-aged British man who has been an environment and development scholar, activist and consultant for over a quarter of a century. I’ve lived much of my life outside the UK, worked around the world, with a lot of the time in the Global South. In that time I’ve been driven by the idea that getting smarter about the problems we face will help to reduce them. And I still suffer from that story. Hence all the writing and teaching, and the new book. […]

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