An Introduction to Deep Adaptation

Many readers will find this impossible or ridiculous, but it’s worth noticing that the environmental debate has shifted from a discussion about timelines and technologies and lifestyle to one about adaptation and psychological coping mechanisms.

Jem Bendell argues that “climate-induced societal collapse is now inevitable in the near term.”

Here is the Deep Adaptation forum here.

Here is a recent lecture he gave:

Comments (5)

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  1. Mark Bevis says:

    Far from ridiculuous or impossible, Jem’s IFLAS2 paper and subsequent work may turn out to be a tipping point as big as methyl hydrate release or oceanic warming tipping points.
    His paper pretty much articulated what I had been thinking for months, so it was great to see a publication in a similar vein. I had my own version of his 3Rs, – resources, resilience, recovery that communities – whether as small as a household or as large as a county – could be using as a template for adaptation. All the while knowing that there are no solutions to climate change, environmental collapse, economic crash and population overshoot, only mitigations. And no one process will be identical to all communities.

    This debate, this conversation, I do welcome and thanks for linking to it here. This conversation will have to become mainstream, but vested interests will no doubt prevent this, for a while at least.

    1. Hi Mark – thanks for this – yeah I don’t think its ridiculous or impossible – just anticipating the response of readers who havent been exposed to this analysis before and are in deep denial.

  2. Wul says:

    As frightening this all is, it could be the making of us as a species. We could pull together globally in the face of this (man-made) threat to find ways to feed, house & clothe all those displaced threatened by climate crisis.

    We could create a massive industry of technicians, engineers, landscaping contractors, manual workers and boffins, paid for by a global fund, all working towards a mutually safe future. Full global employment. A truly bold survival mission involving every nation on earth.

    To do this we would need to elect sane, mature, rational leaders and codify an acknowledgement that killing someone for their oil is at best a temporary solution that also kills our own grandchildren.

    1. Alistair Taylor says:

      Well said, Wul.

  3. SleepingDog says:

    On the psychological (un)preparedness for “near-term societal collapse due to climate change”, I would note the tradition in post-war British science fiction which frequently pointed out the fragility of modern society and anticpated its breakdown in various ways. This tendency may have been somewhat suppressed in the mainstream after the 1970s. And mislabelled ‘escapism’ when the real escapism was consumer culture with no knowledge of where things come from or where things were going.

    There are also silences in mainstream British history on real societal breakdowns such as that which happened in Europe after World War 2, and there are two works by Keith Lowe that touch on that past (Savage Continent) and its implications (The Fear and Freedom) of this. In the Epilogue of the latter work, he writes (page 428):
    “A free person is a person burdened with responsibility and uncomfortable truths.”

    I’m fairly certain that humans have evolved to handle tribal extinction threats without sticking their heads in the sand, or relying on intangible gods to help them out. It’s just a question of scale, and with the right organization (as Sun Tzu says of armies) we can surely apply ourselves to global civilization extinction threats as well, even if we have to leave our old ways behind and absorb heavy losses.

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