Nando: Deep Adaptation, Impermanence, and Facing Death with Equanimity.

Fernando Garcia Ferreiro — “Nando” — left a world-class job to become a seeker after truth, or what he calls an “experienced beginner.” In the face of collapse, Nando is remaking himself in a new life, closer to the Earth.

Nando worked for 33 years for the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union. When he retired in 2018, he was the Director of Health and Well-Being, responsible for 45,000 people. Now, among other things, he facilitates Deep Relating sessions as a guide for the Deep Adaptation Forum.

Nando’s native language is Spanish, but he is erudite in English and French. He peppers his conversation with references to the influential figures of Collapsology, Transition Towns, The Work That Reconnects, and other important branches of the “collapse-aware” community. Here are links to the people and titles Nando refers to in our conversation:

Fred Ehresmann: My daughter’s “small little handful of years.”

David B. talks with Fred Ehresmann, a mental-health nurse from Bristol, England. Fred shares the conversations he’s had with his 8-year-old daughter about her own death, a dying planet, and a future shaped by climate change. Fred tells how Deep Adaptation helps him cope with the anguish of contemplating the mortality of his children.

María José López: Listening to indigenous women can save our souls.

María José López says that she is “very clearly white,” but she chooses not to live “the canonically white lifestyle” in her home town of Mexico City. Instead, she explores her indigenous roots with the women of the Zapatista movement, building networks of communication and resistance.

María proposes that the wisdom of indigenous women can lead us to a worthy life, even in the face of worldwide collapse:

“They not only know practically how to do it; they have a cosmogony, a spiritual view, a literary view, poetic view of what is happening that also soothes the soul and the body.

“It helps when you view Earth as a living being, and what is happening to it right now as an ‘agony.’ They know how to take care of the Earth. There are a lot of people that do have ideas, that do have ways of at least making the years we have, however little or however many they may be…they can make this place livable, and somewhere to be celebrated, and somewhere you can cherish the fact that you are alive and that you are human.

“They know that, and we don’t know that, because we’ve pushed them out of our lives. They want to share. They don’t only want to live for themselves. They want to share what they know, because they know we need it.”

María is the social media editor at Piedepagina.mx (“Footnote” — English language page here). She’s an independent teacher, and an activist for women’s liberation and resisting collapse.

Wendy Freeman: Dancing on the edge of the cliff.

Wendy Freeman thinks of her life as a “blank slate” — plans and dreams of former days are gone. Instead, she is “navigating the cliff-edge” of collapse awareness as part of the Deep Adaptation community, where she finds friends and helps other people.

Collapse may be a long, drawn-out condition of increasing hardship, Wendy says, but humans will find a reason to go on, even in the harshest of circumstances. Even in the face of death, fear, and uncertainty, we can still get out of bed, put our feet on the floor, and work to help other people.

Wendy has been volunteering for Deep Adaptation for two years. She has found friends who are “working from the same awareness,” and she has learned “mechanisms and processes to navigate along the cliff edge.” She doesn’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week — but she finds joy in the small things, and in being of service to others.


“Jem’s paper” that Wendy mentions is “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy,” which you can find here. Also, consider looking into the Deep Adaptation Facebook Group, here.