DAF: Two Years On
Deep Adaptation Forum (DAF) was founded by Professor Jem Bendell in late 2018. Following his departure at the end of September 2020, DAF remains a community space led by volunteers and freelancers who come together with one purpose: to support one another in figuring out what is going wrong in the world and how best to respond.
Although DAF began in response to climate change projections, DAF now explores much more. Surrounded by a global pandemic and a toxic culture that sacrifices the people most marginalised by society, many people are recognising deep patterns that contribute to what is happening and are influencing how we respond.
We don’t need scientific studies to tell us that the world is hurting, that people are suffering, that animals and ecosystems are dying. We look around and see this is so.
And DAF is a place for people to be able to say this out loud, in the company of others who feel a sense of relief in discovering a community with which to explore the whys, the hows, and the what nexts. We, in DAF, (although all at different stages of this journey) seek to learn and unlearn, to grapple with worldviews that keep us separated from one another. (For example, why is DAF so white and Western and middle class?)
For some people, the realisation is triggered by learning about climate change, for others, learning about racial injustice, and, for others, their very personal experience of this pandemic.
For many people, no realisation was necessary: this has been their lived experience for decades, if not centuries.
Together, in DAF, we are excavating through our own experiences to reveal deeper layers of understanding but, at the same time, more questions. “Saving the world” is a phrase full of assumptions and worldviews. By “the world”, do we mean Western civilisation or ecosystems, or both? Do we mean saving a system that extracts, exploits, oppresses, and obscures? What kind of worldview assumes that humans have the power to save any of those things?
And is there a kind of privilege in assuming that “starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war” are a thing of the future and not the past or present? Mutual aid networks exist all over the world (some called as such and some not needing to be named) where neighbours already depend on one another for food and warmth.
What is the reason that “we” do not block roads and bridges to demand justice for indigenous people, to demand housing for humans without adequate shelter and homes, to demand a restructuring of society for people with disabilities? And yet some of us are willing to do so with regard to climate change? “We” have been trained and conditioned very well. Many of us are terrified of losing our way of life, even while sensing (somewhere in our being) that so much of what we feel entitled to is dependent upon extraction and exploitation.
As Eric Garza pointed out in a recent video with DAF, “we” have been traumatised into this anxiety and fear, leading to both the problems the world is facing and to the responses the Western world is making.
We are exploring new ways (to us) of listening, being together, making decisions, and dealing with conflict — all important skills for now and the future (in and out of DAF).
We know that the goal, in the Western concept of the world, and the way to the goal, is to learn to take care of one another in a world of uncertainty, something that others have figured out long ago and are still doing.
Deep Adaptation Forum (DAF) is 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.
Two years on, DAF now has more than 14,000 active members, exploring ways of adapting practically and deeply to what the world is facing. Specifically, there are groups:
- discussing processes for influencing collective action to enable more effective adaptation and mitigation,
- working to form links with other initiatives to explore pathways towards healthier communities and food security,
- examining, for example, public health services and how they may be adapted in order to build resilience and better support our populations,
- building stronger links between the Global North and the Global South and examining the culture of colonisation in order to understand how it might be getting in the way of exploring and integrating meaningful adaptation,
- hosting spaces for people to express their grief and process difficult emotions, and
- offering services by professional counsellors and therapists to support individuals in processing grief and anxiety.
You are very welcome to join us and explore your personal (and collective) Deep Adaptation.
Image: Sandstone by Janet Lees. All rights reserved.