Jem Bendell is a Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Institute of Leadership and Sustainability (www.iflas.info) at Cumbria
University in the UK.
He published the paper DEEP ADAPTATION in July 2018 after revisiting much of the science of climate change. He wondered whether the mainstream narrative,
supported by the Academies and Governments in general, was not delusively giving the impression that we will somehow manage to negotiate a sustainable path through the potential perils of climate change, thus avoiding confronting the need for serious strategies
of adaptation. The narrative was still about prevention, in spite of the lack of decisive action to limit global warming over many decades, rather than adaptation to the inevitability of climate changes that may be beyond anyone's control, such as a drastic
failure of rain-fed agriculture. Whilst acknowledging there are many unknowns he concluded that the available data pointed to possible near-term societal collapse within ten years.
Some of the reasons he
gives are the following:
1) 17 of the 18 hottest summers on record have occurred in the last 18 years.
2) 66% of the Arctic ice-cover has melted due to
3) The resulting reduction in reflectivity (albedo) has increased warming to the earth's surface, which is the equivalent of 25% of anthropogenic carbon emissions.
4) The Arctic is likely to become ice-free one summer in the coming decade.
5) This will increase global warming by the equivalent of 50% of carbon emissions.
6) Civilization will probably not survive the resulting spike in global temperature (Bendell gives examples, such as a devastating effect of a failure of rain-fed agriculture)
7) It seems likely that methane emissions will increase warming even further.
Elsewhere Bendell lists 12 'denial strategies' he has noted from a survey of the social media
He considers near-term collapse certain, catastrophe probable, and extinction possible. Despite this, he does believe we should be considering and adopting adaptation strategies, and that we should all be having an
open conversation about this and the actual findings he refers to.
I recommend you read the paper, which you can download below. My own feeling is that he is right about
the need to have a serious conversation within our respective communities about this possibility. You may also follow the link:
This link takes you to the same paper that I was advised will be updated going forwards.
Bendell adds that accepting near-term collapse is actually cathartic - he recommends mindfulness practice, nature walks, contemplation of the bigger picture etc, as ways to help come to terms with it.
In Mindfulness we use ‘Sitting with the Difficult’ as an important practice to allow difficult feelings, emotions, thoughts and to embrace them as a way of coming to terms with them. This may be
seen as Sitting with the Difficult on a much bigger, collective global scale. And we can’t do it alone.