Wednesday 15 May 2019

Because It’s Not a Drill - Presentation at a European Commission event on Climate Emergency

As news of our climate predicament worsens, more organisations are exploring the possibility of future disruption to our social and economic systems.

That was the topic of an event organised by staff of DG Connect of the European Commission on May 13th 2019. In the morning, invited speakers shared their views on the climate emergency and potential societal collapse. Then in the afternoon, a workshop was organised on Deep Adaptation to our climate predicament.

The originator of the Deep Adaptation approach, Professor Jem Bendell, gave a speech based on a paper he prepared for the conference. The paper "Because It’s Not a Drill: Technologies for Deep Adaptation to Climate Chaos." is downloadable here.

The paper is being discussed in the Government and Policy interest group of the Deep Adaptation Forum.


The climate emergency calls on us to explore what we can do, individually and collectively, to adapt to climate-induced disruption. Such adaptation must go beyond mere adjustments to our existing economic system and infrastructure, in order to prepare us for the breakdown or collapse of normal societal functions. A framework for exploring this issue, called Deep Adaptation, is summarised. Technologies will be important for helping us develop not only resilience but also collapse-readiness. Five areas of technology are outlined in order to illustrate the kinds of ideas that can emerge from applying a Deep Adaptation approach to our predicament. In outlining technological possibilities, it is emphasised that any technology should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, rather than from a general perspective on whether technology is helpful or not. In addition, the focus on technology in this paper and its associated discussions is not intended to distract from the political and psychological challenge of our climate emergency. Therefore, a transformative economic agenda is retained as a context for how we imagine policies to harness technologies for Deep Adaptation. Brief recommendations are offered for the European Commission   

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