Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

Pitch black and hopeful

ECOLOGY: / the Deep Adaptation Norway group articulates the fear of collapse and total collapse. Artificial intelligence and wild plants, preparing for the disaster, unity and fear are discussed there. In that context, Professor Jem Bendell recommends an ideological paradigm shift in the footsteps of Buddhism, deep ecology and critical theory.


A friend adds me to the closed Facebook group Deep Customization Norway. A few days earlier, a woman had "come forward" in a large report on NRK and said that she had given up hope of change; she no longer believes it is possible to avoid climate and natural collapse. The crisis is here, it will get worse, we just have to adapt. But how?

She no longer believes it is possible to avoid climate and nature collapse.

It is this woman who has established the group on Facebook. After the announcement on NRK, many people want to become members, and the pressure is great. To be accepted into the group, one must answer a series of questions. You cannot join the group if you answer no to this: "Do you think that a social breakdown due to climate disruption is very likely and want to prepare yourself better both practically and emotionally?"

A strange openness characterizes the posts. A kind of skinless extradition. Many of the thoughts, worries and sorrows I recognize myself in. I don't write there myself. I'll be a looker. Read all the posts. It's hard not to, I have to keep checking in to see if there's anything new. Almost exciting in a grotesque and tragic way:

It's hard not to, I have to keep checking to see if there's anything new.

“I consider myself to have a matured collapse consciousness. It means to me that I am no longer hanging on by a thread of hope and clinging to theoretical possibilities to 'turn it around'. The planet still has some organs left that have the power to heal the world's ecosystems, I think of the rainforests of the Amazon and the Congo, but the collective awakening that needs to happen to preserve these will not come in time."

The fear of breakdown and total collapse is articulated. But in reading this closed page, I also experience various forms of hope. Pitch black and hopeful. The hope lies precisely in the adaptation. It is written and discussed about artificial intelligence and wild plants, about preparing for the disaster, about unity and fear, possible ways of living together in the future. Various accounts and outlook on lifer are tangent and complement each other. It hurts, hurts and almost unbearable at times – but I have to read. Many of the posts are like monologues, introductions of oneself and one's own process. Rarely strong and close lyrics, such as "In the face of collapse, I will go down with the flag of life to the top".

Ted Kazcynski

Many who write have worked all their lives in organizations such as Greenpeace and such. They have fought for a long time, but have given up. As I read all the testimonies of lack of hope, or adapted hope, I imagine the actions of Ted Kazcynski – terror as a way out. Killing as impulse. Kazcynski, who was called the UNA bomber, among other things, sent letter bombs to people he considered responsible for the destruction of nature – he was pissed off at the technology community. He also tried to blow up a plane. In his narrative, it is technology that removes us from nature and thus enables us to destroy it. But no one in this group wants to go in that direction. No one who talks about violent acts or civil disobedience to avert a disaster.

Theodore Kaczynski, 1996.

It is withdrawal that counts. Finding ways to adapt to the collapse. A way of adapting that is active, even nourishing. What strikes me is that, unlike Ted Kazcynski, these people have a forum to share their thoughts and feelings. Online, yes, but it's a place for exchange. While Kazcynski was a lone wolf, here I find a pack. In the herd you get an outlet for frustration, grief and there. But it is also a place to get inspiration, be in a dialogue and get a sense of togetherness. There is hope in that.

"Yes, there is perhaps greater awareness now. But there are no public places to talk about this. There are only a few hundred of us in here. Most people and politicians talk about oil or not. Fly or not. No one in society is talking about adapting to the crisis that is here. The stories will stay in here."

I give them names

Do these narratives need to stay in there? I start collecting texts. Copying and cutting. I feel like a thief. I cut and paste and completely rewrite. Some of the characters are more interesting than others, a few crystallize and I give them names. Dialogues and multi-part choirs are formed. A character I call Grankvist. Another barberry. I find Sol. Moonbeam. Apple, Octopus and T. Rex. They come forward with their different voices and personalities. Conflicts, point of view, conversation, dreams:

What about artificial intelligence?
Can it save the planet from disaster?

The earth can only be saved
by the people disappearing.

But think of all the great things
which is man-made.
We just have to clean up the mess.

That we will be able to clean up the mess?
We who are the cause of it?

The collective map

The Deep Adaptation group is centered around the theories of British I eat Bendell and his thesis from 2018, Deep Adaption/ A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy . Bendell is professor of sustainable management at the University of Cumbria and encourages the creation of such Facebook groups or groups where you meet physically.

The way we have lived for many centuries has failed. The crisis will therefore be of an epidemiological nature.

In retrospect, Bendell has corrected the idea that the thesis is a map; instead, he now refers to it as an invitation to one maplessness (maplessness). The future will be without the landmarks we are used to, he believes. One such landmark is the narrative of human supremacy on earth. And also the idea of ​​progress, that tomorrow will always be better than today, will disappear from the collective map. Nothing will be certain. Mapless. Basically, it is the very knowledge that underlies our way of life, which has led us into an ecological and an incipient societal collapse. The way we have lived for many centuries has failed. The crisis will therefore be of an epidemiological nature. We have not succeeded in living in a way that ensures our own and other species' survival. The questions asked in Deep Adaptation groups are profound indeed: Who are we as a species, how can we behave, and how can we not behave?

Sad to hear that you have so little hope.
There are superfoods that are easy to grow and require little soil.
And an enzyme that eats plastic.
And there are a number of technological solutions
which has not yet been discovered
Maybe there will be some kind of supercomputer
who can sort it out for us?
Or a machine that captures co2?

What we call technology,
is something invented to push the problems we have under the rug.
The problems are not solved by technology,
only moved further away.
Solutions that are based on the same way of thinking
in the same system that has caused the problems, will only be creating new problems. The problems will grow.
Just look at the wind power. Destruction of nature. Enormous amounts of rubbish after a few years.
The technology is a healing ring.

Bendell's thesis on the consequences of global warming and ecological collapse was criticized for being too depressing, because he claims that the effects of climate change are so extreme that they will lead to the collapse of civilization. Bendell was present at COP27 in Egypt this year, for the first and only time, according to himself. He is not unexpectedly critical of the conference, but chose to participate with three lectures. His main message is that, more than ever, we need complete honesty in what matters global warming, to be able to prepare ourselves as well as possible. He was particularly concerned with feedback effects and the Net-zero paradox. That when we now reduce, hopefully, the use of fossil fuels, the temperature in large urban areas will increase by approx. half a degree – since the burning of fossil fuel in heavily polluted cities paradoxically keeps the temperature down. Bendell refers to dr. Ye Tao, which has shown that data from pandemic lockdown describes this. The use of fossil fuels decreased, but in cities with high pollution the temperature increased.


In addition to saying the obvious, that global capitalism in the wake of colonialism is another reason climatethe destruction, Bendell invites us to reflect on the term othering. I have to find a good Norwegian word for this, but let me call it 'andregøring'. According to Bendell, othering is a psycho-social process, which can be found in all forms of discrimination. The othering is a prerequisite for dehumanization and is the basis for both a patriarchal system of government, colonialization and the total destruction of nature (ecocide). We also recognize otherness in the construction that man is separated from natureone, where it is nature that becomes "the other". Bendell describes one alienation through an othering, which has led to a destructive separation from the self and from nature.

The antidote is the opposite. an ideological paradigm shift in the wake of Buddhism, Deep Ecology and critical theory. Examination of language, culture and power to reduce oppression. To be able to move collectively from an anthropocentric view of life to one ecocentric. He mentions being able to go from a 'doer' to a 'being'. According to Bendell, too much is being done, and it is not difficult to agree with that. Meditation as a basis for active action, as a key to change. Considerations of the self as more fluid, can it make unconscious othering less salient?

It is not impossible. I imagine politicians starting the day with an hour of meditation and yoga. Practice kindness and presence. It probably wouldn't hurt anyway.

Yours is just one of many lives,
although it feels very special
when you see it from the inside.
But many thinkers agree
in that the illusion of a separate self
is the very root cause of the crises we have in the world.
When what is not yourself is an 'other',
someone else, the other,
then it doesn't matter what happens to it.

Fir branch:
Maybe it's best to live as if it's not happening?
Push it away and pretend it's nothing
until it's not possible to pretend nothing is happening anymore?
Then at least you feel better in the meantime.
Do like the birds?
Chirp when it's spring
and be quiet only when it's all over.

Nina Ossavy
Nina Ossavy
Ossavy is a stage artist and writer.

Related articles