In 2018, a climate paper by Jem Bendell went viral, being downloaded over a million times. It helped to launch a worldwide movement of people seeking to reduce harm in the face of societal disruption and collapse. In this interview for Facing Future TV, Jem explains the concept of Deep Adaptation, how he developed the idea, what it means in practice, what he says to critics, and what his new book on the topic is about.
FF: Who are you and how would you describe yourself?
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.
FF: What is Deep Adaptation?
Deep Adaptation has become an umbrella term for an ethos, a framework, a community and a movement.
The ethos is essentially a commitment to working together to do what’s helpful during the disruption and collapse of societies because of the direct and indirect impacts of environmental breakdown including climate change. It’s an ethos of being engaged, open-hearted and open-minded about how to be and how to respond.
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