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Collapse-aware: Communities of Resistance

On Thursday October 26th, Islington Climate Centre hosted our first webinar: Collapse-Aware: Communities of Resistance.

It was the title suggested by the speaker, Dr Gail Bradbrook, who holds a doctorate in molecular biophysics from the University of Manchester, and is co-founder of Extinction Rebellion. The provocation: what is it to 'be' in a time of collapse and what practices and processes we might focus on to support ourselves and our communities at this time?

In 90 minutes, between moments of grief and sharing, several themes were raised: our responsibility to stay well in the time of collapse - not simply for ourselves but so that we can protect others; ideas around intergroup resilience; preparation, both mentally and physically, for the many scenarios that might arise as well as the understanding that communities can prepare now, setting down the support structures needed to cope.

Amongst the practical responses that arose were "Who takes leadership in times of collapse?" Others included the possibilities that should public services fail, what responses to food distribution, medical aid, high heat or cold can communities put in place now? Where are the centres that communities know to run to, in times of flood or fire? How will they be resourced? Who will act as mediators in times of disorder?

There are hundreds of roles waiting for us. Gail is currently working on strategy as part of XR Being the Change. As she says: "We've been living in a bubble of privilege. We are now holding a line between anti-life systems [that surround us] and the vision of the possibility of breaking together, holding out for the world we want to create."

It is crucial, says Gail, to 'feel the despair and how the earth composts it but not to get stuck in those feelings but to return to the beauty. There is a hubris to despair. Life wants to live through this."

For those who attended the webinar, we sent out resources. We include them below:


A toolkit of deep collaboration practices


Vanessa Machado de Oliveira, Hospicing Modernity: Facing Humanity's Wrongs and the Implications for Social Activism:

Dougald Hine, At Work in the Ruins: Finding Our Place in the Time of Science, Climate Change, Pandemics, and All the Other Emergencies.

Dougald Hine, world-renowned environmental thinker, has spent most of his life talking to people about climate change. And then one afternoon in the second year of the pandemic, he found he had nothing left to say. Why would someone who cares so deeply about ecological destruction want to stop talking about climate change now? At Work in the Ruins explores that question.

Mary Reynolds, We Are the Ark. Mary Reynolds is a reformed Irish landscape designer, bestselling author of ‘The Garden Awakening’ and nature activist. Director Vivienne De Courcy made a movie – ‘Dare to be Wild’ – about Mary’s Chelsea Gold Medal winning adventures.

Anthea Lawson, Entangled Activist. The Entangled Activist is the story of how activism is entangled in the problems it seeks to solve, told by a hard-hitting campaigner who learns to see activism very differently. After years of thinking that her task was to ‘get the bastards,’ campaigner, writer and reporter Anthea Lawson came to see that activism often emerges from the same troubles it is trying to fix, and that its demons, including righteousness, saviourism, burnout and treating other people badly, can be a gateway to understanding the depth of what really needs to change.

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine. The Shock Doctrine is the unofficial story of how the “free market” came to dominate the world.


The Week. The environment is breaking down and the climate is changing rapidly. The Week is a group experience to help us see what’s coming and what we can do about it.


The Emerald: The Emerald explores the human experience through a vibrant lens of myth, story, and imagination.


Trust the People: Trust the People is a movement of community builders committed to building a real democracy from the grassroots up. We believe that by stepping into our agency and working with others in our neighbourhoods, we can shape our society into one that serves the needs of all.

Tiokasin Ghosthorse. Tiokasin Ghosthorse is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota and has a long history with Indigenous activism and advocacy.

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