DA Quarterly - Summer 2019

Every three months, this newsletter will summarise activities which are happening under the banner of Deep Adaptation, as well as highlighting some relevant news. We will not cover news on the latest climate science and weather, as there are many other sources for such information.

Deep Adaptation events

Many events are being organised online by volunteers within the Deep Adaptation Forum (see below). There will be some real-world deep adaptation dialogues in various places in the coming months. If you want to organise one, we recommend you join the Forum so that we can promote it. Next month, the originator of the Deep Adaptation framework and founder of the Forum, Professor Jem Bendell, is teaching a course on leadership in challenging times, in the Lake District (deadline for applications is June 15th). You can see Jem's other events, most of them in UK. Every month Jem hosts Q&As online with special guests. The last Q&A was with environmental philosopher Joanna Macy, and next month is the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, Dr Gail Bradbrook. If you are a member of the Forum, you can join live and ask a question. 

Forum Group Activities.
The Forum exists for enabling professional collaboration on our predicament. It currently hosts 10 groups pursuing different interests.

In Coaching and Counselling, a call was published for coaches to assist activists in need of emotional counselling: Volunteering on the frontline One of the group’s Group Leaders, Matthew Painton, also laid out an open conceptual framework for transcendent perspectives about collapse, in order to invite deeper conversations. A conversation also took place on how to proceed as coaches and counsellors on the forum, and to bring about a needed shift in the mainstream “development” focus of the mental health profession.

In Food and Agriculture, there was a lively conversation focused on attracting new farmers, given the critical lack of trained individuals ready to grow food in the face of climate stresses. Another topic that attracted much attention was that of incorporating chickens into a Southeast Asian farm for better collapse resilience, and some strategies for doing that successfully. The Food & Ag community has proved willing and able to provide specific advice to farmers facing particular issues.

The Holistic Approaches group notably featured a post by Jem Bendell on Facilitation principles and practices for Deep Adaptation, which garnered useful replies, including an essay by Gavin Milne on the socio-cultural obstacles for deeper public engagement with ecological catastrophe. Another lively conversation unfolded around the topic of Rethinking faith on the brink of collapse.

In the Philosophy discussion group, interesting conversations have unfolded on the topics of boundaries (on climate refugees and the issues around borders, geopolitics, responsibility, and reparations), misanthropy (the rise of negative feelings in response to climate change impacts upon those least responsible for it, including the natural world), implicatory denial (a sociological phenomenon of social inaction to climate change), as well as The ethics of choosing between two bad choices (authoritarian responses to climate change, implications for individualism and freedom, questions of fairness and justice, tribalism, and counter responses.)

Finally, besides a variety of in-depth conversations, the Community Action group was also enriched with many valuable resources – including a useful Climate Action Landscape Map on practical deep adaptative strategies from the individual to the global level.

As for the Positive Deep Adaptation Facebook group, it continues to be as lively as ever – its 3400+ members make it difficult to follow everything that is happening. It is an emotional topic and so not an easy place to moderate, and the volunteer moderators are doing a great job. For a sample of rich conversation topics, you can read about:

  • What professions/technical skills should we recommend to our recent high school graduate children when they ask what to study or learn for the future?
  • Pontoon Archipelago – or how I learned to stop worrying and love collapse
  • What are you doing today/this week to move to Deep Adaptation?

In the news

Since the Deep Adaptation Paper was published in July last year, the idea of a Multi-breadbasket failure (MBBF) triggering societal collapse within 10 years is no longer such an unusual view. Paul Beckwith has been reporting how melting polar ice is causing unseasonal rain, which has destroyed grain planting in USA, and other crops besides, and this year's harvests will me worse than last year. This may begin to encourage wider discussion on how to prepare for climate chaos impacting on our societies. 

On the first of May this year the UK parliament declared a climate emergency, apparently in response to the huge civil disobedience campaign of Extinction Rebellion. However before you throw your hat in the air note that it "does not legally compel the government to act". Nor does it cover adaptation. 

But government leadership is much needed if last month's huge biodiversity report, prepared by 150 international experts from 50 countries is to be believed. It said "Goals... cannot be met by current trajectories, and goals for 2030 and beyond may only be achieved through transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors. By its very nature, transformative change can expect opposition from those with interests vested in the status quo, but such opposition can be overcome for the broader public good."

The Deep Adaptation paper predicted a societal collapse but what exactly that would involve is wide open to futurologists. It is possible now to predict scarcities of food, energy and other resources, but what would that mean for politics? The Ecologist ran this excellent article anticipating fascism in response to our predicament i.e. that government will get stronger, not weaker. And The Week also predicted that democracy would be unlikely to survive.

Many commentators have been encouraged by the growing talk of a Green New Deal. Others say even a GND is too little too late. But even once you have found the money, you can't just throw it at all the infrastructure and expect it to become sustainable. The Verge is concerned about the rarity of rare earth metals, not to mention the pollution, while Automatic Earth claims that renewable energy cannot power modern civilisation. It seems to us that there is a lot of discussion, research and action needed, and we hope to help that through the Forum. 

New versions of the Deep Adaptation paper

The original paper is now available in different formats

and in three other languages:

Healing intentions and light

Finally we urge you to keep Scientistswarning.org founder Stuart Scott in mind, as he struggles with bone marrow cancer. "Stuart is requesting that those who are so inclined send him healing intentions and light. Set aside any disbeliefs for awhile and just imagine that your healing thoughts are helping Stuart." We could say the same for our species.

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