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The Future Is Not a Spectator Sport

Like all self-organized, adaptive systems, society moves in nonlinear ways. Even as our civilization unravels, a new ecological worldview is spreading globally. Will it become powerful enough to avert a cataclysm? None of us knows. Perhaps the Great Transition to an ecological civilization is already under way, but we can’t see it because we’re in the middle of it. We are all co-creating the future as part of the interconnected web of collective choices each of us makes: what to ignore, what to notice, and what to do about it

Excerpted from The Web of Meaning: Integrating Science and Traditional Wisdom to Find Our Place in the Universe (published in June in the UK, and available July 13 in the US)

The nonlinearity of history

There are many good reasons to watch the unfolding catastrophe of our civilization’s accelerating drive to the precipice and believe it’s already too late. The unremitting increase in carbon emissions, the ceaseless devastation of the living Earth, the hypocrisy and corruption of our political leaders, and our corporate-owned media’s strategy of ignoring the topics that matter most to humanity’s future—all these factors come together like a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut driving our society toward breaking point. As a result, an increasing number of people are beginning to reconcile themselves to a terminal diagnosis for civilization. In the assessment of sustainability leader Jem Bendell, founder of the growing Deep Adaptation movement, we should wake up to the reality that “we face inevitable near-term societal collapse.”

Our civilization certainly appears to be undergoing profound transition. But it remains uncertain what that transition will look like, and even more obscure what new societal paradigm will re-emerge once the smoke clears. A cataclysmic collapse leaving the few survivors in a grim dark age?…

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Jem Bendell on Deep Adaptation to climate chaos

Interview with Professor Jem Bendell on Deep Adaptation to climate chaos, by Facing Future TV.

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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The Sky Is Falling – Yes – No

The Sky Is Falling – Yes – No

Image Source: Joseph Pennell – Public Domain

The sky is falling is one of the more disturbing thoughts in society today, as to whether climate change is on a fast track collision course with doomsday amidst a collapsing society.

In that regard, according to the details of a scathing review by ScientistsWarning.org (“SW”) of Jem Bendell’s wildly popular “Deep Adaptation” the answer is no, not yet. Society is not ready to keel over, as postulated in Bendell’s paper.

Whew! Climate change handwringers, sleepless nights, can take a deep breath, exhale and relax based upon the critique of Bendell’s very popular paper, which crystal balls the “end to society” within only decades, or less, depending.

In strong terms, ScientistsWarning.org’s thought-provoking rebuttal expresses outrage over Professor Jem Bendell’s doomsday thesis in its article entitled “The Faulty Science, Doomism, and Flawed Conclusion of Deep Adaptation” d/d July 14, 2020 by Thomas Nicholas, Galen Hall, and Colleen Schmidt, fact-checked by scientists.

The full article can be accessed at www.ScientistsWarning.org.

Accordingly, within the opening two paragraphs of SW’s rebuttal: “In the past few years we have seen a troubling trend: a few figures in the climate movement using science — or what looks like science — to justify increasingly dire and prophetic, but ultimately unsupported claims about the future.”

Bendell’s Deep Adaptation became an overnight cult classic amongst many on the front lines of environmental justice, a brooding downcast thesis of the inevitability of “social collapse” because of the ravages of climate change/global warming, meaning there is no way out, humanity’s trapped in an insidious fireball of doom that’ll hit hard.

SW takes issue with Bendell: “(1) cherry-picking data (2) citing false reports (3) forwarding logical fallacies (4) disregard of robust scientific consensus.”

In SW’s words: “Neither social science nor the best available climate science support Deep Adaptation’s core premise: that near-term societal collapse due to climate change is inevitable.”

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