Last month, I passed along an article about climate change and the inevitability of climate collapse. Soon after, a dear friend Gabe Epstein, send me along this article on Deep Adaptation, written by Dr. Jem Bendell and first published in July of 2018.
The basic premise of the paper is that considering the possibility (in fact accepting) a coming societal collapse, in addition to an eco-collapse, will help us going forward.
As Dr. Bendell puts it:
“The purpose of this conceptual paper is to provide readers with an opportunity to reassess their work and life in the face of an inevitable near- term social collapse due to climate change.”
The bitter truth Bendell puts out is that climate-induced societal collapse is now inevitable. He tells us that recent research suggests:
“…human societies will experience disruptions to their basic functioning within less than ten years due to climate stress. Such disruptions include increased levels of malnutrition, starvation, disease, civil conflict and war – and will not avoid affluent nations.”
He posits if we can accept that as a real possibility, it allows us to take different actions in the present.
Jim Collins, in the book Good to Great, talks about the “Stockdale Paradox.” This is named for Admiral Jim Stockdale, a United States military officer held captive for eight years during the Vietnam War. He never doubted he would prevail in the end, but he said it was those who believed they’d be “out by Christmas” but then not be, then “out by Easter” then not be. Then Thanksgiving, then Christmas again. Stockdale tells us those were the ones who “died of a broken heart.”
So the Stockdale Paradox applies here too. It seems counter-intuitive to accept the “brutal facts” of climate collapse. However, accepting it as inevitable allows us to get on with planning what we can do in the face of such times.
If we accept that societal collapse is starting, we can refocus to sharing more on how to shift our livelihoods and lifestyles. We can talk more about how to create support networks of self-sufficiency. We can ask our local governments to help our local communities collaborate, not fracture, during collapse. We need to plan for, and help with, creating systems for productive cooperation between neighbours, which can take many forms and include food security systems.
Dr. Bendell is working actively to bring people together on this dialogue, and you can find his recently released Forum here.
I used to be very active in a local Food Security group I co-founded, called the Gorge Tillicum Urban Farmers. The group is still active and over the years has created many fruitful relationships. It’s time for us all to instigate and nurture more local, neighbourhood, civic, national and international dialogues on climate change.
Let’s stay connected!
“Grace happens when we act with others on behalf of our world.”
… Joanna Macy