How Everything Can Collapse – my foreword to new book

This is my foreword to the new book “How Everything Can Collapse: A Manual for our Times” by Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens.  The book is released June 2020 by Polity.

Candles Only Shine Within Darkness 

By Professor Jem Bendell, author of Deep Adaptation.

When we read the latest news of disasters, disease, extreme weather, changes to our planet and scientists’ warnings, it is natural to feel unease, even fear. Some of you may have even suffered direct consequences of climate chaos, such as failing harvests, forest fires, disease or political unrest from prolonged drought. If so, I want to recognise at the outset that my own anxiety about the future is nothing compared to what you have already been through. And that people like me can learn from you. Yet all of us are now being affected by the climate crisis in some way, whether it is from rising prices or the rise of extremism as people feel unsafe and uncertain. Continue reading “How Everything Can Collapse – my foreword to new book”

The Climate for Corona – our warming world is more vulnerable to pandemic

“If the impact of Covid19 is another step in the collapse of modern societies, then it is likely it will have been another climate-driven step in that collapse. Understanding that context is important for deeper learning about reducing future harm.”

Our world is changing because of a virus. As the human and economic impact unfold, how massive that change will become is still unclear. How we make sense of the cause and damage of the pandemic will be part of the lasting impact. The role of climate change in making humanity more vulnerable to coronaviruses should be taken into account as we reflect on those lessons. That is because there is scientific evidence that a warming world with unusual weather has driven new patterns of wildlife migration and undermined the health of certain wildlife populations, both of which lead to larger releases of novel coronaviruses that can infect us all.
Continue reading “The Climate for Corona – our warming world is more vulnerable to pandemic”

A Pandemic of Love – deeply adapting to corona

I’ve not been breathing so deeply recently. I’ve been checking news sites every hour. I’ve been wondering how best to protect myself, loved ones, and participate in wider efforts at change. I’ve felt anger as I witness slow and ethically dubious responses from people with the power to make decisions that matter – if made fast. But rather than get stuck with blame, I am also hearing of heart-warming action from people all around the world. As we face exponential impacts from viruses, climate chaos and financial markets, we can become part of an exponential pandemic of love.
Continue reading “A Pandemic of Love – deeply adapting to corona”

The Worst Argument to Try to Win: Response to Criticism of the Climate Science in Deep Adaptation

As fears about climate futures and implications for societies have become more widely expressed, some climate scientists have responded by criticising some of the predictions and conclusions being made, either by other climate scientists, other scholars, or general commentators.

An example of this pushback can be found in the views shared by some climate scientists on the July 2018 Deep Adaptation paper, in a Vice article. Those comments were not specific enough for me to assess or respond to, and so I invited the individual scientists to comment directly on the relevant text of that paper. I am grateful for climate scientists Gavin Schmidt (Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, USA) and Dr. Wolfgang Knorr (Lund University, Sweden) for providing such feedback. In this blog I summarise the comments made and my response. As a result of this process, I have identified two minor corrections and two clarifications I will make on the paper. Continue reading “The Worst Argument to Try to Win: Response to Criticism of the Climate Science in Deep Adaptation”

Advancing the Movement of Deep Adaptation to our Climate Tragedy – New Governance and Strategy Processes

Message from the Founder, Professor Jem Bendell:

When I launched the Deep Adaptation Forum (DAF) in March 2019, my intention was to enable people to connect with others who shared an unusual and challenging outlook on the future. I could not respond effectively to the deluge of incoming mail that was precipitated by the release of the Deep Adaptation paper, but neither could I ignore the passion and pain being expressed by people from around the world. Therefore, an online network was launched to embody and enable loving approaches to our predicament. I thought that the framework of the ‘4 Rs’ might provide a guide, but the main aim would be to promote dialogue and initiative grounded in the principles of  compassion, curiosity and respect for others. Many volunteers stepped forward in that early stage, and a few donors, and I am very grateful to them. Now the Forum engages around 15,000 people, and supports some of those people to create local groups, give speeches and interviews, steward online discussions, launch initiatives, and facilitate gatherings both in person and online. Over 50 volunteers fuel that activity, with a core team of five freelancers providing support and coordination. Almost a year after launch, it is time for a new phase in the organising of the DAF, so it can better express and nourish what is becoming a global movement of deep adaptation to our climate tragedy. Continue reading “Advancing the Movement of Deep Adaptation to our Climate Tragedy – New Governance and Strategy Processes”

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. Continue reading “Strategy Options Dialogue for Deep Adaptation”

What Activism Next? Ideas for Climate Campaigners

Thank goodness for the honesty of children and youth. In the Madrid summit on climate, Greta Thunberg said, that from an emissions perspective “we have achieved nothing”. All of us who have been trying to promote change on climate change, are finding that, if we are honest, at a cumulative level, our efforts amount to little. Therefore, increasingly frustrated and anxious activists are discussing what approaches might work better in achieving significant reductions in atmospheric carbon. As I have a background in analysing and advising on social change, as a scholar, activist and consultant, and been involved in recent climate activism, I wish to offer some thoughts on those discussions about “what activism next”?
Continue reading “What Activism Next? Ideas for Climate Campaigners”

Striking for Climate Safety

The climate and ecological emergency is such that additional approaches to activism for transformative change must be examined and experimented with. In particular, approaches that offer opportunities for mass participation, globally, should be considered, as they enable wider understanding and support for the necessary livelihood and lifestyle changes to reduce harm from climate chaos.  

The ‘global climate strikes’ that are co-organised by the climate campaign group 350.org have not involved actual workplace strikes organised by trade unions in dispute with their employers. Instead, they have involved young people taking time away from school, with some supportive demonstrations by adults, sometimes encouraged by trade unions and permitted by employers. 

The following idea about striking for ‘climate safety’ outlines a different approach, where adults show greater solidarity with young climate strikers, by challenging employers to adopt policies which make meaningful the notion of a climate emergency. That will involve the employer making carbon cuts, drawdown and adaptation to disruption the central organising principle of the organisation. Such challenges to employers will need to be real, by being backed by trade union bargaining processes and the threat of lawful official strike action. The recent evolution of the concept of Occupational Health and Safety to include climate risks provides the context for such trade union leadership and action. Ultimately that action might enable a transformative agenda onto the mainstream of political agendas.  Continue reading “Striking for Climate Safety”

Avoiding Davos Disease as Climate Activists

cheese canapes

In announcing the theme for Davos 2020, the Executive Chairman at the World Economic Forum (WEF) explained that: “People are revolting against the economic ‘elites’ they believe have betrayed them…”

In case you didn’t realise, Professor Klaus Schwab, was not welcoming the news. He was not celebrating the uprising of people calling for a different economic system in the face of a climate and ecological crisis driven by the industrial consumer society. Instead, he was warning the delegates to Davos of the threat to the system that sustains their privilege. Continue reading “Avoiding Davos Disease as Climate Activists”