My journey into Deep Adaptation and Community-Building
How I grew collapse-aware
When I read the Deep Adaptation paper, in March 2018, I was already aware of societal collapse as a possibility, from reading Dark Mountain publications (since 2016). However, the DA paper helped me to connect the dots, and become more familiar with some of the scientific science that supports the idea of societal collapse – even though I sensed resistance in me to Jem’s conclusions, as regards the inevitability of collapse, and the near-term timescale.
Simultaneously, meeting Jem and Matthew in Bali, at that time, gave me a sense of trust and connection – even belonging – which felt quite precious. This was crucial to me becoming involved in the Deep Adaptation Forum core team, towards the end of 2018.
How I started learning about community-building
Jem was offered some funding to launch an initiative around the topic of Deep Adaptation. So he invited me to work on this with Matthew and him. Jem launched the Positive Deep Adaptation Facebook group and the LinkedIn group; and the three of us collaborated on designing and launching the “Deep Adaptation Forum” over Ning (which has now become the Professions’ Network).
I didn’t know anything about community-building, so I read a lot of literature around self-organization and communities of practice, which helped me get some useful insights. Then, I was able to apply some of this learning by engaging with the Facebook group moderators in collaborating with them to build a set of agreements on how we were going to manage the group, and how we would make decisions, in ways that would be as comfortable to everyone as possible.
To work on this process, we used the software Loomio. I found it useful to work on consensus-driven collaboration, and also discovered that it can be fruitfully used to go back into the history of a conversation, build polls and decision summaries, etc.
I also discovered that it is possible to facilitate such processes without being a professional facilitator, and even when one is new to horizontal governance. I found this encouraging.
Later on, as part of the core team, I found more clarity around what we were doing, what the purpose of each platform was, and so on, when writing our first funding proposal. The proposal didn’t bring us any funding, but we did learn a lot about ourselves. I also learned more about how to write funding proposals by doing so. As a result, our most recent proposal is better, and has helped us secure some funding last year. Having put together the first funding proposal, we shared it with the DAF volunteers for feedback and comments.
A few months later, we invited these volunteers, and many other people, to take part in the Strategy Options Dialogue – a participatory strategy-building process for DAF, which we tried to make as democratic and transparent as possible.
And the Strategy Options Dialogue, in turn, led to me taking part in the Diversity and Decolonising Circle, which has led me onto one of the richest learning journeys of my life.
Some resources that have been useful to me:
- How Everything Can Collapse: A Manual for our Times, by Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens
- The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, by Starhawk
- Dark Mountain
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