"To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing." - Raymond Williams

Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time

by Shaun Chamberlin on April 1st, 2020

Image for 'Surviving the Future: Conversation for Our Time' online course

Update: Due to overwhelming interest, we’ve closed enrolments for ‘Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time’. With over 245 enrolled, we simply don’t feel we can accommodate more. If you missed out, fear not, we will run it again.

And LeanLogic.online remains free access!


This post is an invitation.

After the wonderful success of our rapidly-rearranged-to-online triple launch a fortnight ago – featuring Kate Raworth, Rob Hopkins and Caroline Lucas MP and now viewed over 25,000 times – we’d love you to join us to continue the conversation.

From Monday I will be leading Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time alongside Sterling College’s delightful Philip Ackerman-Leist, joined by Kate, Rob and further stars of The Sequel, as well as other compelling, internationally-renowned guests including Nate Hagens, Helena Norberg-Hodge and Richard Heinberg.

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My coronavirus dilemma – weighing crises against each other?

by Shaun Chamberlin on March 12th, 2020

So, we have a sold-out London event on Monday, launching our film, book and online course. And all week I’ve been agonising – with the others involved – about whether to cancel it or not, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time of writing (Thursday morning) the advice from the UK government and Public Health England is clear. Keep calm and carry on. Cancelling events would be too soon and could even be counterproductive.

And yet advice from analysts I trust and some established medical experts is quite different…

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A post-doom conversation, with Michael Dowd

by Shaun Chamberlin on August 22nd, 2019

Shaun Chamberlin and Michael Dowd - Post-Doom conversation

When the bestselling theologian Reverend Michael Dowd invited me to open his ‘Post-Doom’ series of interviews on dealing with the widespread foreboding about climate chaos, societal collapse, and ecological ‘doom’, I didn’t imagine how beautifully warm and touching a conversation it would be!

We forged a real connection and it was an absolute pleasure to get to know such an authentic man.

Just click play above, or for a list of topics covered and links to jump straight to them, head through to Youtube and click “Show More” under the video.

Or subscribe there for the full series (also at www.postdoom.com), with confirmed future participants including Joanna Macy, Derrick Jensen, Chris Martenson and David Abram.

Why I’m Rebelling against Extinction (wait, should that really need explaining..?)

by Shaun Chamberlin on November 18th, 2018

Shaun Chamberlin - Dark Optimism - Extinction Rebellion - Blackfriars bridge

I got arrested for the first time in my life this week. And I’m proud of it.

As long-time followers of this blog know, over the past 13 years I’ve tried everything I know to get our society to change its omnicidal course. I’ve written books, co-founded organisations, taught courses, worked in my community, lobbied governments, given talks, participated in grassroots discussion and action…

I’ve failed. We’ve all failed. As a global society we are accelerating towards oblivion, and taking everyone else with us.

And last week, someone said something that stuck with me. That if everyone around you is carrying on like everything’s fine, then no matter how much one reads or understands intellectually about a situation, it’s so difficult not to go along with that. Equally, if you’re somewhere and everyone else starts screaming and running for the exit, then you probably start running for the exit, even if you have no idea what’s going on.

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Dark Optimism – forthcoming (and past) events

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 7th, 2016

Shaun Chamberlin, Dark Optimism, XR Rebellion Day 1

For more on my late mentor David Fleming’s astonishing Surviving the Future or Lean Logic, see the official page for the books, which should provide all you need.

The “Order the books” section there will point you to the best deals available (in print, as e-books, or as an audiobook with my narration!), with free worldwide delivery.

 



Forthcoming public events:

 

Sat 12th December 2020Shaun will take part in A Journey Home, organised by Eve Annecke and Advaya. Details to follow.

 
 

Click links for more details or to book places at events.
Or follow
DarkOptimism on Twitter for more.
I look forward to seeing you soon!

 


 

Past events (2016-present):

 

Fri 2nd – Sun 4th Sept 2016Dark Mountain Basecamp festival, Embercombe, Devon:

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Interview on grief, Dark Optimism, aliveness and activism

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 21st, 2014

Kosmos Dark Optimism image

This is an excerpt from a longer video interview Rhonda Fabian conducted with Shaun Chamberlin at the opening of the New Story Summit in Findhorn, Scotland. Part of a Findhorn Foundation documentary initiative.

Transcript originally published in the Kosmos Journal.

Rhonda Fabian: Shaun, please tell me what Dark Optimism means to you.

Dark Optimism is a widely misunderstood term. I get a lot of people coming up to me saying, “Are you feeling dark today, or optimistic?” That’s not quite what I mean. Dark Optimism means being unashamedly positive about the kind of world we could create, but unashamedly realistic about how far we are from doing that right now.

So it’s not that sort of bright shiny optimism, which I can find quite frustrating. It’s more like, “Well everything isn’t fine actually”, you know? It’s an ability to look at the more difficult aspects of where we are and what we’re doing, whilst also retaining a sort of deep faith in human potential. And also drawing on the deeper questions of why we’re really here. And does the state of the world in any way challenge our purpose in being here, or make that impossible? I don’t think it does.
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Of grief

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 21st, 2012

'From fire, Redwood', by Maria Elvorith

Let me tell you a story.

It’s a story about our land – our home – and our ability to live peaceful, harmonious, respectful lives upon it and in partnership with it.

And it’s a story about the big bad political structures and corporate institutions that conspire to stop us doing so, using the unspeakable, impenetrable black magic of bureaucracy and backhanders to bind our best efforts with frustration and fatigue.

Oh, you already know that one?

~~~~~~~~~

Ok, then maybe you’re ready for the next chapter, about what comes after?

Fine. Sit down, make yourselves comfortable.
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What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto

by Shaun Chamberlin on September 20th, 2012


What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto
Greek anger

 

Out today from Pluto Press is What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto – a book to which I was delighted to contribute.

My chapter, “The Struggle for Meaning”, wraps up the section on ‘New Economics’ and addresses our collective fight for meaningful lives, and the importance of the beliefs and stories that shape and power our struggle. It considers the Transition movement and TEQs through this lens, viewing them as part of the vast, diverse upwelling of people around the world resisting the current death march and fighting, so simply, for a future.

I feel most honoured to see my work published alongside inspirational writer/activists like John Holloway, David Graeber and Ann Pettifor.

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Transition Money

by Shaun Chamberlin on May 17th, 2012

The Joy of Not Being Sold Anything - Transition Money

Last month I was one of forty or so attendees of the Transition ‘Peak Money’ day. It was a fascinating collection of people, from theorists to activists, and a potent opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing us all as the glaring errors at the heart of mainstream economics take their toll. This post is far more personal reflection than report, as Rob Hopkins has already done a great job on that front.

The key theme that seemed to run throughout the day, then, was ‘collapse’. Sadly, I was an hour late to the event, but the first sessions I witnessed were reports from Transitioners in Portugal, Ireland and Greece on the ‘front line’ impacts of the economic crunch. The talk was of collapse having already happened for many families and communities there, with statistics quoted including an 89% increase in Greek unemployment in three years, and Irish suicides having doubled since 2007.

They pulled no punches. Most of us were left grey and shaken as the harsh realities of the crisis were relayed. For me, a defining memory of the day was watching the alternative economists listening to this – people who have spent decades warning of these outcomes and trying to head them off – their heads shaking sadly with lips pursed, hands involuntarily coming to their faces in dismay as their Cassandra curse unfolds. Of course, the statistics were not new to them, but hearing these stories in person somehow always brings a heavier human impact. Watching that impact reflected in their expressions felt almost inappropriate, yet doubly powerful.

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Dark Optimism – the album!

by Shaun Chamberlin on December 31st, 2011

Because why not? 🙂

A collection of songs from various genres, all in some way pertinent to the state of the world as we enter the new year. Here’s hoping that the ‘2012 apocalypse’ meme doesn’t encourage enough panic to fulfil itself!

(this ‘album’ is shaped by the songs contributed by Dark Optimism readers last year, and others since. Thanks all!)

Edit – February 2017: The original Dark Optimism album posted here was sadly lost due to the demise of the player I uploaded it in. However, it has been updated and reborn in the 2017 edition!

Edit – January 2012: Ani DiFranco (song #9 above) turned up at OccupyLSX outside St. Paul’s the other day. See below 🙂