Deep adaptation and the regenerative power of telling the truth

18:30 - 21:00
Jan 10th 2020

How can we frame generative conversations about climate emergency? What can deep adaptation teach us about how to absorb the truth of our times and help others do the same? Join Skeena Rathor, Toni Spencer and Justine Huxley for a conversation about how deep adaptation changed them, and how they enliven truth-telling in an age of hard truths.

For more information contact Clare Martin on clare@stethelburgas.org
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Radical Resilience

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How do we hold spaces for facing the unfaceable? How do we prepare, inwardly and outwardly for collapse and transition? And how can we grow our resilience through the simple practice of facing the truth together? Whether you’re new to deep adaptation or not, this conversation will have much to offer – do join us!

What is deep adaptation?

Deep adaptation was a scientific paper that went viral in July 2018. Its explosive conclusion – that we are further down the road of climate breakdown than we feared – inspired an overwhelming response from many in the scientific community and beyond, who felt relieved that at last a taboo had been broken. Alongside the science, author Jem Bendell laid out a framework for how people could talk about the future by exploring what he called the 4 R’s: relinquishment, resilience, reconciliation and restoration. From this simple basis, a body of work has grown, shifting the conversation away from an old paradigm of stopping climate crisis, looking instead at how to create adaptive solutions for the impacts we can no longer avoid.

A year and a half on from the paper’s publication, we’ll gather to reflect on the influence it’s had, and how deep adaptation may evolve in the future. How are different people interpreting the framework? How can we apply these insights to our own contexts, opening up spaces for truth-telling, grief and courage? What can we learn as activists, faith leaders, change-makers and people of conscience, about how to generate adaptive solutions to the challenges we face? And what does it mean to include climate justice at the heart of our conversations, recognising how unequally distributed the impacts of the climate crisis are in our global community?

Skeena Rathor is one of the co-founders of Extinction Rebellion – an organisation she helped to found after she attended one of Jem Bendell’s earliest presentations on deep adaptation. Toni Spencer is an author and facilitator whose work offers 3 further ‘R’s’ to the deep adaptation framework: these are, Roots, Reciprocity, and Receptivity. Justine Huxley is the Director of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace and has led several deep adaptation retreats, as well as speaking on the subject to faith and business leaders.

This is the launch event for our Radical Resilience programme, a new strand of work that asks, how can we live a whole-hearted response amidst the tumult of our times? Find out more and apply to join the 5-month training programme here.


Skeena Rathor
Skeena Finebaum-Rathor is the Vision coordinator of the Extinction Rebellion Movement, and has been at the heart of this extraordinary new eco-social movement. She is on a mission to bring kindness, ethics and honesty to politics. Skeena is a mum of three who lives in Stroud, where she runs the Politics Kitchen and is a co-founder of Compassionate Stroud. She is also a Labour Councillor and mental health champion at Stroud Council.


Toni Spencer

Toni works with questions of deep ecology, resilience and ‘a politics of wonder’. As a lecturer and course leader Toni has taught on the faculty of Schumacher College (Educational Practice, Ecological Facilitation as Leadership, Embodied Eco-literacy) and at Goldsmiths, University of London (Eco Design). As a participatory artist she has worked with Encounters Arts and The Feral Kitchen, also taking ‘The Work That Reconnects’ to activist communities at Occupy London and elsewhere. She is a Trustee at ProcessworkUK and was on the Embercombe Council for 8 years. With a BA in Fine Art and an MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice, Toni has trained in a diverse range of awakening practices and facilitation modalities, alongside many years of dancing, foraging and ‘living life as inquiry’. She is a mentor and teacher for Call of The Wild with Wildwise and Schumacher. She has enjoyed spending time at Findhorn, on Dartmoor and in the deserts of Jordan where she fell more deeply in love with humanity, silence and writing. Current passions include: Kali and the Sacred Fool; being a complete beginner at Kung Fu; and the wild green feasting that comes with a Devon spring.

Justine Huxley
As St Ethelburga’s CEO, Justine leads on vision, strategy, management and fundraising. Her raison d’etre is bringing people together and co-creating innovative projects rooted in worldview of interdependence. Her biggest achievement is building a dedicated and passionate team, who she feels privileged to work alongside. She has a Ph.D in psychology and her first job (usefully) involved training an impossibly grumpy camel on a small Danish island. Her first book, Generation Y, Spirituality and Social Change is a reflection of six years of work with the younger generation at St Ethelburga’s.



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