Professor Jem Bendell

notes from a strategist and educator on social and organisational change

Emotional support in face of climate tragedy

Posted by jembendell on July 26, 2018

If you have come to recognise that climate change will lead to a near term collapse in our way of life, or even worse, then this can be a very difficult realisation to process, integrate into our lives, or communicate to other people.

Here are some links to resources that I have found helpful.

Lifeboat Hour podcast
Any books and articles by Caroline Baker
Joanna Macy lecture
Human Near Term Extinction Support Group on Facebook
Reframing Collapse Facebook Group
The Dark Mountain network
Deep Adaptation LinkedIn group (more for professionals working on this).
Climate Psychology Alliance (again more for professionals, but requests for advice can be made).

I write up some of my own reflections on how I have been trying and wobbling to integrate this awareness into my life and work, in this rather long reflective piece called “After Despair

Ultimately, I think we will best supported by activities that support our transcendence from our normal fears, whether those activities are spiritual or agnostic. There are an increasing number of spiritual coaches appearing online such as my friend Zori. These forms of grassroots, diverse, non dogmatic, spiritual inspiration and support will become more important.  If you have suggestions, please enter them in the comments below.

My academic paper on the latest climate science as well as the many forms of denial about our situation is available for download here.



21 Responses to “Emotional support in face of climate tragedy”

  1. Thank you very much for gathering these resources together.

    It is indeed a difficult awareness.

    We also have a facebook group for support and developing community for 4 years now called

    We welcome genuine members.

  2. The original Near Term Human Extinction SUPPORT Group is here with over 5000 members:

  3. Jorge said

    Thank you very much, Jem. Along with the books of Carolyn Baker, I would recommend the books of Marshall Vian Summers: “The Great Waves of Change” and “The New World (Both free at These have been very important to me.

  4. Bob said

    Through science we have evolved a high energy technological system, which we put into the hands of economists and politicians for it’s operation. To operate a high energy technological system with the political economic agenda ,could never have been seen to end well,especially when you add in the human ability to deny reality.

  5. Vanessa Blakeslee said

    The NTHE Evidence Group is updated numerous times a day with articles, and offers a well-moderated support group.

  6. Very nice. Thank you. For your scientific overview, you may have noticed many of the issues presented in this recent video and text from 2011:

    The 5 Big Climate Unknowns
    Climate State
    Published on Jul 26, 2018
    Climate unknowns include the rate of sea level rise, ozone loss, how the Gulf Stream will react and what it possibly means, the Earth’s response, and the potential for extra methane release from methane clathrates, stored at continental margins. There are many more climate unknowns, for example elaborated in this article

    0:04 #1 Ozone Loss
    4:00 #2 Rate of Sea Level Rise
    7:32 #3 Gulf Stream Slowdown
    11:18 #4 Earth’s Response
    17:40 #5 Methane Hydrates

    – – – –
    [classic from 2011]
    What Are the “Unknown Unknowns” of Global Warming
    JOE ROMM – OCT 1, 2011, 2:05 PM

    Accelerated release of the methane hydrates
    Rapid collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet
    Dramatic shift in ocean circulation patterns
    Runaway greenhouse effect
    The drying of the Northern peatlands (bogs, moors, and mires).
    The Amazon becoming a carbon source - see Science: Second ‘100-year’ Amazon drought in 5 years caused huge CO2 emissions. If this pattern continues, the forest would become a warming source.

    I’m talking about stuff that is not really explored in the scientific literature [2011].

  7. Larry Victor said

    Jem, I, too, took an unpaid leave of absence (1975) to write an unpublished manuscript (Mission_2000; the publisher went bankrupt). Then, I anticipated eventual collapse (extinction came later with climate change). From then to now, my focus has been on significantly uplifting (more than simple educating) the whole global human population. Established orders would never help; UPLIFT would have to be a self-generating process.

    Larry Victor 2 PhDs: Physics & Psychology, long ago.

    It requires explanation: humankind has never contemplated uplifting itself, the global population, for all to have high levels of knowledge, competencies, and wisdom, with great diversity. This is my goal, yet I find no one interested, to even discuss the challenge. Uplifting Humankind to Humanity is taboo or beyond imagination.

    My current model of the process I call Up2Met. Persons OLLO (Organizing-for-Learning=&=Learning-for-Organizing ) to competencies where they are able to abandon trying to fix dysfunctional humankind. Instead they emerge a new humanity via a cultural/societal metamorphosis. For reasons (that led me to question our assumptions about “human nature”) I have yet to adequately share my conceptual schemes with anyone willing to join me in launching Up2Met. Many are very interested in individual insights.

    I agree that we should begin preparing for collapses. I expect the power elites to strongly resist, even when major collapses are frequent. Power elites have the resources to be resilient (although individual elites will go down). Indeed, some elites may already accept your projections and plan to ride on top all the way down. Some may act to gain time via population reduction to .5 billion.

    Humankind has the resources/knowledge/competencies for some humans to survive living on Earth, even if barren of all multi-cellular life. Maybe domes on the ocean floor. By my having wintered over in the Antarctic (1960-1962); I realized many humans could survive/thrive in/on “the ice” for many years. Temps will remain constant where phase changes are involved. We should now be researching under-sea and under-ice living. It may take millennia, but a new humanity could terraform Earth.

    There are possible wild cards. Our Sun might go into its expected cool period for a few centuries. A rapidly uplifted population may discover new routes to survival/thrival.

    Our primary crisis isn’t Earth Changes, but stunted, dysfunctional humankind – too far gone to be transFORMed. And, we are all locked into the only way to change is by transformation – the phenomena studied by science. An alternative to transformation, emergence, is talked about – but everyone reduces it to transformation. In emergence, a new FORM appears where there was no prior FORM to be transFORMed. Up2Met is a proposal for the emergence of humanity from humankind, via cultural/societal metamorphosis.

    In my model, only a few persons (a community of teams) could launch UPLIFT and Up2Met. I’m 83 and currently in an assisted living facility following cervical spine surgery. I hope to return to independent living in a few months. I hope to launch UPLIFT before I die.

  8. […] A list of resources to support people as they process this information, including emotional support is here. […]

  9. […] A list of resources to support people as they process this information, including emotional support is here. […]

  10. […] но, похоже, материал снесли и оттуда. На данный момент доступен только форум, где расстроенному профессору оказывают […]

  11. […] A list of resources to support people as they process this information, including emotional support is here. […]

  12. […] a list of resources to support people as they process this information, including emotional […]

  13. Evgeniy said

    Greetings from Russia. I do not know English well, I use Google translator. I do not have academic titles, but I have long calculated that an extreme climate will destroy our civilization. You are not alone. I express my support and gratitude.

  14. Anli said

    This is THE most timeous and thorough study of the human predicament – thank you Jem, thank you! To overcome feelings of despair and loss I would highly recommend a strong daily meditation practice. I was lucky enough to stumble upon Vipassana meditation ten years ago and have been a disciplined practitioner ever since. There are many Vipassana Centres all over the world that offer regular 10-day courses for FREE and I would suggest that you get there asap. Once you acquire the tools to get to know your mind and understand the very simple truth of Life and the Human Condition you will find that you have nothing to fear. Despite the sadness these “end times” will be the most unique opportunity to live Mindfully (“to know what is happening when it is happening – moment by moment”) and to experience personal awakening as a rare privilege. My Metta to all living Beings:
    May you be filled with Loving Kindness
    May you be Well
    May you be Peaceful and at Ease
    May you be Happy

  15. […] You can find a list here. […]

  16. Glad I found your site. I’ve been wrestling with why so few people are even willing to look at the climate change emergency, let alone delve deeply into it. I’ve written about it here:, and you’ll see in the comment section a note from a psychotherapist working on this issue.

    I think a main problem in our Western culture is that we don’t have the tradition of lament.

  17. We can already observe how they are dealing with the problem, mostly denial, obfuscation, and Gas Lighting. I wonder why none of these experts have not observed, how this was re-framed, and studied by the defense industry, using data they gleaned from Facebook. We should be looking at the effects that are already here, and the counter narratives that are already running, and reinforced by popular Psychologists. The psychologists have been Gas Lighting us all. Psychologists designed the programs, that were amplified by mass media, that allowed people to ignore the facts. Perhaps some psychologists should identify that. It looks like people still think that this is a marketing opportunity, a false narrative, also created by psychologists.

  18. Ian Graham said

    Jem, I’m 64, permaculture lifestyle farmer in ON Canada, formerly business entrepreneur, chaplain and father of 2. Following abrupt climate change for 4 years. Convinced it’s not at all likely humanity will or can avoid social collapse. but it’s worthy of our best efforts.
    Saw your book list for 2016, are there any for 2017 and 2018?
    You ask in various places for collaboration on your efforts to frame D. A. Here are a couple of ideas.
    You did not quote Vaarki on his theory of denial, M.O.R.T. (mind over reality theory) anywhere I have seen. Do check it out if not already.
    You do not incorporate the thermodynamic model of energy/global economy fixed relation by Timothy Garrett. Would love to see how you take that into account.
    You do reference Guy McP, (I brought him to ON for tour last year) in a cautious sort of way. Too bad he discredited himself; made it easy for detractors to ‘shoot the messenger’.
    John Michael Greer on Catabolic Collapse, Albert Bates on permaculture based drawdown, Suzanne Moser on climate Communication/Hope are other rich sources to integrate in a model of Deep Adaptation.

  19. Thank you Jem for your work and continued persistence to wake up humankind to its own doing. Your writing is powerful and should be an inspiration for discussion – and action – in all corners of our worlds. Now if we could only learn how to work together?

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