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This blog is part of the new Deep Adaptation Forum website launch and seeks to attract a variety of voices and perspectives to speak to how we are adapting to disruption and collapse. We welcome contributions.

An Invitation

Our world enters another phase of learning to adapt to the consequences of centuries of patterns around scarcity, separation, and powerlessness (as Miki Kashtan describes so well in her work). In the midst, we offer a space to share thinking, feelings, textures — for those who have already experienced collapse, for those who are experiencing it now, and for those who anticipate it. Whether from a place of anxiety, fear, peace, curiosity — or anything in between. Whether in the form of an idea, a model, an example, an image, a poem, a story, or an essay. We welcome contributions to this unique community of people who all share a common sigh of relief in finding one another, so we can face this… together.

Image: It Cannot Last by Cat Jenkins

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Comments (2)

  • Hi Beverly! I recently read Octavia Butler’s Parables series and have the podcast in my feed. I’m a single mom in Oklahoma who has also been feeling the shift for a long time, but I didn’t have the words or community to express it. I kind of fell into a career in Oil + Gas after high school, but continually struggled with the company’s mission, the fracking, the lobbying and the pressure on employees to contribute to a PAC whose spending undermined everything I held dear. I realized I was wasting my life and that I had a deep, spiritual need to do work that sustained the earth and all beings – human and non-human – inhabiting it. That realization set me off on a path of self-discovery and empowerment. At first I felt like I was making bad decisions. What single parent with a young child and a mortgage leaves a cushy corporate job for an unknown future? I made myself sick struggling to find ways to make my work align with my value system. There was no way around it though. I was seeing clearly. When the opportunity arose, I left and put myself through school with the help of an amazing tribe of single moms.

    That was only part of collapse for me. Overall collapse has been about ethical work. I’ve tried working in many different industries, the non-profit sector, even advocacy. In every role I’ve met a values clash. Either the company was making money from exploiting the earth and vulnerable communities, or leaders were demonstrating incompetence, unethical workplace practices and bullying. The corporate world treated me very well, but I couldn’t get behind their mission. The non-profit world treated employees so horribly I couldn’t stand by in silence and was forced to leave.
    The collapse of ethical work did push me to a deeper point of clarity:

    I am the change I want to see in the world; therefore, I must do the work wherever I am and to whatever extent I am able. If I can make change in the organization I am in – do it. Make the changes I want to see in my home and community outside of my regular employment. And train to enter a field that aligns with my values.

    I’ve since begun studying and implementing permaculture and zero-waste practices in my home and dragging along every friend who’s willing for forest bathing expeditions to share my deep love and appreciation for the forest with them. I am now committed to serving the earth by sharing that love widely and through a career in renewable energy and waste management. In my home I will continue to garden using permaculture principles and sharing the bounty with friends and neighbors. Maybe some of them will become interested too? I’m teaching my son about permaculture and zero-waste and interdependence. I am hopeful we will thrive and our influence will ripple out to others.

  • As an artist, writer, social activist and educator, I’ve been carrying this understanding of “the shift” deep in my bones since childhood. I am an elder now who has made work about these issues for decades. One of my most recent projects,
    “We Almost Didn’t Make It,” had folks walking through “trauma curtains” to a “portal of possibilities” and asked participants to imagine themselves as ancestors and what we will leave for future generations if we step into our power. Since sharing that work in Seattle, Washington and Brighton, England, I’ve felt myself more rooted in my home community, planting food gardens and sharing the harvest with neighbors and friends, creating wider networks of support (via Zoom), and developing more daily rituals to be in the present moment. I listen to the podcast Octavia’s Parables (hosted by Adrienne Maree Brown and Toshi Reagon) to hear their perspectives on adaptation in relation to Butler’s speculative fiction, Parables of the Sower and Parables of the Talents. I read both novels in the mid-1990s and they partly inspired our move away from LA to rural Massachusetts and then to the Pacific NW. I know now that it does not matter where you live as long as you are generous, kind, and open, developing ways to offer aid and your skills to others. There will be problems arising in every part of the world, so developing strategies for staying sane and grounded will be quite useful. Knowing good conflict resolution skills, ways to reimagine and reframe what seems impossible, and supportive ways to organize with others will be and are essential. I could say so much more, but I feel optimistic despite all that I know that is so grim. I was disabled for years by an environmental illness caused by overexposure to pesticides and pollution. I was able to heal (with patience and persistence) from that physical and psychological trauma, and have a full and vital life now, so I do believe in the immense power of reimagining what’s possible. I offer workshops on the latter.

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