Guest essay by Eric Worrall
“Deep Adaptation” appears to be a group of climate doomsday depressives whose message is too much even for other believers.
Deep Adaptation: Could Climate Change Lead To Societal Collapse?
The ‘Deep Adaptation’ movement situates the conversation about society’s future in a new realm, one in which catastrophic climate change is a given.
The movement creates a framework to think about climate adaptation by inviting people to contemplate four guiding questions.
But despite its contributions to thinking about climate change, ‘Deep Adaptation’ has a weak premise at its core: that climate change will lead to society’s collapse.
The news reports from the UN climate change conference in Glasgow this month followed a predictable pattern. World leaders took to the stage one after the other, each of them issuing dire warnings about imminent climate disaster and concluding with urgent calls to action: It’s not too late… but we must act now!
This message feels tired, its urgency attenuated from decades of repetition. “Now” was once the 1970s, with the birth of the modern environmental movement; “now” was the Kyoto Protocol and its carbon-reduction commitments of the 1990s; “now” was Paris 2015. Now, some believe, is now too late: The tipping point has come. We’re at the apex of the curve, on the verge of an unstoppable cascade that will irreversibly alter the systems governing the natural world. It’s too late. And if we, as a society, copped to that fact, we’d all benefit immensely.
This is the argument of ‘Deep Adaptation’, a movement launched in 2018 by Jem Bendell, a professor of sustainability leadership at the University of Cumbria in the United Kingdom. The movement situates the conversation about society’s future in a new realm, one in which catastrophic climate change is taken as a given. Bendell says the world will become an unfamiliar place: Everything we’ve known about the dynamics driving our lives will be overturned by climate-induced disruption, leading to societal collapse. Only when we accept this inevitability can we prepare for the coming catastrophe “in ways that may reduce harm, especially by reducing conflict and trauma,” writes Bendell.
‘Deep Adaptation’ has attracted a worldwide following: The founding document was downloaded more than a half million times, according to Bendell, and forums have solidified a base of participants, from students to psychologists to scholars. Recently, more than 500 scholars signed an open letter espousing the main tenets of ‘Deep Adaptation’, and urging policymakers to “engage openly with the risk of disruption and even collapse of our societies.”
Blinded by utopian visions, Bendell seems to overlook the advancements, in science and technology and other realms, that are capable of upholding society. In sectors such as energy, water, materials science and agriculture, basic science and innovative technology are spawning new realities that could stabilise societies, even amid horrific shifts in the natural world.
…Read more: https://science.thewire.in/environment/deep-adaptation-could-climate-change-lead-to-societal-collapse/
I think Marianne Apostolides, the author of the critique, could spend more time examining the evidence for her own beliefs. In my opinion she seems way to ready to embrace climate doomsday narratives herself, even if she tempers those beliefs with a well placed faith in technology and innovation.
But its nice to see someone standing up against unrelenting pessimism of climate leaders like Professor Jem Bendell. It is all very well wallowing in your own climate grief. But when you lead thousands, possibly millions of others down the same path, in my opinion that way lies Jonestown.