Deep Adaptation

“Non-linear changes are of central importance to understanding climate change, as they suggest both that impacts will be far more rapid and severe than predictions based on linear projections and that the changes no longer correlate with the rate of anthropogenic carbon emissions. In other words – ‘runaway climate change.’


George Marshall summarised the insights from psychology on climate denial, including the interpretive and implicative denial of those of who are aware but have not prioritised it. In particular, we are social beings and our assessment of what to do about information is influenced by our culture. Therefore, people often avoid voicing certain thoughts when they go against the social norm around them and/or their social identity. Especially in situations of shared powerlessness, it can be perceived as safer to hide one’s views and do nothing if it goes against the status quo. Marshall also explains how our typical fear of death means that we do not give our full attention to information that reminds us of that. According to anthropologist Ernest Becker (1973): “A fear of death lies at the centre of all human belief.” Marshall explains: “The denial of death is a ‘vital lie’ that leads us to invest our efforts into our cultures and social groups to obtain a sense of permanence and survival beyond our death.” 1

“For let me stand shoulder to shoulder with Jem in saying that the future looks extremely grim (unless we somehow manage to transform our entire way of life beyond recognition, rapidly). The situation is particularly grim in the Arctic. The albedo loss there is highly disturbing, threatening in itself to blow the IPCC scenarios away, as Jem details. And above all there is the methane time-bomb. If that gets unleashed — if the staggeringly vast amounts of methane buried below now-thinning ice and ‘permafrost’ (sic) start to get liberated — then we will be not looking ‘only’ at the end of human civilisation, but at the possible extinction of humanity and of most animals: . Perhaps within a decade.” 2

⟶ Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating ClimateTragedy

⟶ Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating ClimateTragedy (Deutsch)

[1] Jim Bendell, Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating ClimateTragedy, 27.07.2018 
[2] Rupert Read, “A friendly critique of Bendell’s ‘Deep adaptation’ paper”,
Article on, 2018