As we struggle to respond to the IPCC report, here’s a summary of one dynamic perspective.
Professor Jem Bendell‘s premise is that climate breakdown and its threat to humanity is a given. Even if all governments and individuals take immediate, radical action, our lives are about to change by processes which have already been set in motion and which can’t be reversed.
Bendell explores why this message of imminent climate catastrophe isn’t more widely spread and accepted e.g. a paternal attitude from some scientists that ‘we know best’; a fear that we would inevitably feel hopeless and become apathetic.
He explores the possible range of psychological and emotional reactions people might feel when confronted with this uncomfortable truism, including denial. It is indeed an unprecented challenge to overcome what he calls ‘semi-censorship’ about our possible extinction. We feel the same difficulties responding to death. But, at the same time, our priorities and outlooks can be drastically changed confronting those events (this resonates with me after my dad’s horrific terminal illness).
Bendell comes up with a ‘Deep Adaption Agenda’ a ‘map’ of resilience, relinquishment and resources.
Resilience: what are the human values we want to preserve?
Relinquishment: what will we have to give up?
Resources: how can local communities, and governments, work together? (locally: producing medicines, exchanging products and services; govt: wider support for increased movement of people, securing nuclear sites from collapse)
Could the three Rs be a useful model?
Faced with our demise, we might end up leaving our jobs; we’ll have to emark on our own research and learning. Accepting the inevitable breakdown while not falling into apathy is a powerful, albeit challenging, starting point as we come togther to fight climate breakdown.