Deep Adaptation Forum

is creating a global network to reduce harm from societal breakdowns

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Published in July 2018, Prof. Jem Bendell's paper 'Deep Adaptation: a Map for navigating the climate tragedy' went viral. He launched the Deep Adaptation Forum to connect people for deep adaptation to likely and unfolding societal disruptions from climate chaos.


The Deep Adaptation Forum exists to embody and enable loving responses to our predicament. We aim to reduce suffering, while saving more of society and the natural world.

We are an international space to connect people, online and in person, and in all spheres of life—to foster mutual support, collaboration, and professional development in the process of facing societal collapse.

Our overarching aim is to support caring and creative ways of engaging with our predicament, so that when the realisation of likely societal breakdown spreads into the mainstream, there will be more ideas, tools, people and systems ready to help.

To continue serving our community, and fund our team, activities and projects in 2020, we need your help! If you feel our work has brought value to you and you believe it’s important for it to continue, we are deeply grateful for any contribution you can make to our cause. Thank you!


Deep Adaptation refers to the personal and collective changes that might help us to prepare for – and live with – a climate-induced collapse of our societies. Unlike mainstream work on adaptation to climate change, it doesn’t assume that our current economic, social, and political systems can be resilient in the face of rapid climate change.

When using the term social or societal collapse, we are referring to the uneven ending to our current means of sustenance, shelter, security, pleasure, identity and meaning. Others may prefer the term societal breakdown when referring to the same process. People who consider that societal collapse or breakdown is either inevitable, likely or already unfolding, are using the "deep adaptation" to explore responses.

Four questions guide our work on Deep Adaptation within the forum:
  • Resilience: what do we most value that we want to keep and how?
  • Relinquishment: what do we need to let go of so as not to make matters worse?
  • Restoration: what could we bring back to help us with these difficult times?
  • Reconciliation: with what and whom shall we make peace as we awaken to our mutual mortality?

These questions invite exploration of Deep Adaptation to our climate predicament in order to develop both collapse-readiness and collapse-transcendence.
  • Collapse-readiness includes the mental and material measures that will help reduce disruption to human life – enabling an equitable supply of the basics like food, water, energy, payment systems and health.
  • Collapse-transcendence refers to the psychological, spiritual and cultural shifts that may enable more people to experience greater equanimity toward future disruptions and the likelihood that our situation is beyond our control.

Deep Adaptation is about extending the glide of our societies and softening their crash, in a spirit of compassion, curiosity and respect.

Read more about our philosophy and values here.


The Deep Adaptation Forum is composed of a variety of platforms and networks, including:

Besides, we support and organise an array of regular activities and events, both online and offline - for example:
  • Online Expert Q&As, which feature such remarkable speakers as Carolyn Baker, Joanna Macy, Gail Bradbrook, Deb Ozarko, or Charles Eisenstein;
  • Deep Adaptation Dialogues, i.e. gatherings enabling local communities around the world to engage in open-ended discussions on Deep Adaptation themes, following an Open Space Technology format;
  • Professional interest group gatherings, organised online through our professionals’ platform. These gatherings have helped us refine and develop a set of general guidelines for such gatherings, based on the spirit of loving kindness at the heart of Deep Adaptation.
  • We are hosting, along with an international team of volunteer facilitators, a series of regular 'drop-in' online spaces for members of the PDA facebook group. "Deep Listening for Deep Adaptation" is a gently facilitated, safe space in which to share and practice the sacred act of listening, deeply and without judgment. Check regularly for 'events' in the PDA facebook group for upcoming dates, and times that suit your timezone.
  • Deep Adaptation Retreats - two of which have already been hosted by Katie Carr and Prof. Bendell in 2019. These week-long series of processes was designed to invite participants to explore ways to nurture their resilience and wellbeing in the light of the climate emergency. The next retreat is planned for June 2020.

Finally, we have also been carrying out an array of other activities centred on Deep Adaptation – writing articles, giving speeches, hosting workshops, giving interviews, supporting spokespeople, and providing advice to key organisations such as Extinction Rebellion.


Depending on the amount of funding we can mobilise, we are hoping to launch many new activities and projects in the coming months. All will be free for DAF members, and several have emerged from the initiatives of our forum members. Here are some examples:
  • The Deep Adaptation Guidance website. This platform will provide a searchable website of therapeutic and facilitation practices, for people looking for resources to facilitate one's - or others' - response to collapse; and a searchable directory of Deep Adaptation facilitators and therapeutic practitioner profiles. This will enable practitioners/facilitators to find each other, and clients to find practitioners.
  • The Deep Adaptation Leadership Online Course. Curated by the originator of the Deep Adaptation framework, Professor Jem Bendell, this course will support learning from reflective practice, including psychological implications, public communications, gathering facilitation, collaboration skills, and some policy issues. It will help participants study their own efforts to enable change in their community or profession. The course will involve self-paced, pre-recorded lessons, as well as fortnightly online lectures and webinars.
  • Capacity-Building Webinars. These sessions, provided by experts in the field, will assist groups formed within the Deep Adaptation ecosystem - Task Groups as well as Local Groups - to refine their organisational and collaborative skills, from decision-making to conflict resolution and community building.



The free Forum has been co-created by volunteers and a small team of passionate freelancers. The Deep Adaptation Forum core team consists of the following 5 people, who typically earn a living allowance of 800 pounds (USD 1,000) a month:

Professor Jem Bendell, Founder
With a PhD in international policy, a background working for the United Nations and international charities, and over 100 publications on business and sustainable development, Professor Bendell turned to leadership development in 2012. By 2016 he was working with leading socialist politicians as a leadership and communications advisor and speech writer. He had been interested in climate change since he studied it in 1993, as part of his geography degree at the University of Cambridge. In 2017 he took a year unpaid leave from university to create a more peaceful and loving response to the predicament, to review the latest climate science, measurements, policies and implications. This led to the release of Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Our Climate Tragedy, which was downloaded over half a million times within a year. He now focuses on leadership for deep adaptation, through research, writing, retreats, courses, strategy consulting, short films, as well as launching and co-funding the Deep Adaptation Forum, which after 6 months already engages over 10,000 people in exploring the implications of anticipating societal breakdowns due to climate chaos.

Katie Carr, Senior Facilitator
An independent trainer, facilitator and ‘host’ of collaborative learning processes, Katie has over 15-years of experience in formal and informal/community education. Katie is a skillful facilitator of ‘un-learning’, that is, creating spaces in which it is possible to connect with ways of knowing that are broader and richer than the cognitive/evaluative paradigm. If Deep Adaptation requires responses that are effective in reducing harm, then it is essential to build awareness and bring into consciousness all of the ways that stories of separation, scarcity and addiction to progress can be manifest in our ways of relating with self and others, and create new ways of being that are characterised by love, respect, inclusivity and connection. Before joining the DAF team, Katie was the Director of a UK sustainability education charity for six years, and project manager of several European sustainability projects in the fields of formal and community education. She also has expertise in participatory and alternative evaluation approaches (measuring what’s valuable, rather than valuing what’s measurable). She has an MA in Sustainable Leadership Development, and is trained in a variety of dialogic learning methods (including circling, authentic relating, ‘philosophy for children’, and non-violent communication).

Dorian Cave, Professions’ Network Curator
Dorian curates the DAF Professionals’ Network (on Ning) on a day-to-day basis; liaises with Interest Group and Task Group leaders, including managing the process of launching either; carries out quickly-applicable research on how to design better collaborative work processes; and oversees capacity-building activities for Task Groups. Through his work and PhD research, Dorian intends to help develop the Deep Adaptation Forum into the foundation of an international mass movement, focusing on peaceful responses to the climate and ecological crises we face – and the collapses that are likely to unfold. Simultaneously, he wants to develop his skills in the field of self-organised group facilitation and contribute to scholarship on the role of mutual and social learning within such processes.

Matthew Slater, General Assistant
A theology graduate and software engineer, Matthew is a leading voice on community currencies. In the financial crisis of 2008 he dropped everything to develop open source software for Local Exchange Trading Systems, cofounding Community Forge to host that software. His interests and expertise widened from there into monetary theory, monetary reform, community building, ecovillages, cryptocurrencies, and the politics of software. in 2015 he co-authored the Money & Society MOOC with Prof. Bendell. In 2016 he proposed a solidarity economy money system in a white paper entitled ‘Credit Commons’. In 2018 he took on the role of General Assistant to Prof Bendell and the Deep Adaptation Forum. Within that role Matthew supports a range of activities, including technical support and research on various themes.

Zori Tomova, Platforms Assistant
Zori has a business education, with an MSc from Warwick University. Upon graduation, she co-founded a small innovation consulting company and soon after moved into IT entrepreneurship and management, where she spent the majority of her career. She left that world in 2017 to look for a calling that was closer to her heart. Upon her first encounter with Jem Bendell and our predicament, she realised that her sense of aliveness and meaning lies in her gift and love for connection. As a consequence, she oriented her life towards creating spaces of connection with self, other and nature that bring out the most beautiful sides of our humanness. In the last 2 years, she has built a coaching business, created the Connection Playground initiative and facilitated numerous groupwork spaces, including regular Deep Adaptation gatherings online. She joined the Deep Adaptation Forum in July 2019 to support the team of volunteers moderating the Positive Deep Adaptation Facebook group. She’s also the project leader of the Deep Adaptation Groups Network, providing a space for cross-pollination and peer support between DA groups in different locations, languages and topics.

Our fiscal sponsor: The Schumacher Institute

All funds collected through Patreon will be administered by our partner and fiscal sponsor, the Schumacher Institute, a registered UK charity.
Company No: 6606284
Registered Office: Create Centre, Smeaton Road BRISTOL, BS1 6XN
Registered charity number: 1144674

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