John Clarke: Deep Adaptation and Indigenous Community

John Clarke is an environmental activist, social worker, and philosopher who works with the indigenous Amadiba people of the Wild Coast, in South Africa. That community is fighting to sustain their ancestral lands against the threat of mining and exploitation by a foreign company.

John describes his lifelong growth into “environmental consciousness,” which he calls a pilgrimage and “a return from ecological exile.” From an awakening to the environment as a 17-year old visitor to a nature preserve, to activism against apartheid South Africa, to his current work helping defend the Amadiba people, John’s life has blended two threads: “an environmental ethos, and peace activism.”

In his work with the Amadiba, John has been taught their ancient wisdom, recognizing the latent life energy that exists in the land. He has learned that “inclusivety” is the primary virtue, and that social networking is the only way to achieve victories in the effort to protect the land and the people.

Ultimately, John says, the necessary struggle is to expand human consciousness. “The opportunity inherent in this climate collapse is for the emergence of a more compassionate, loving, inclusive, and healing consciousness.” And we cannot heal alone, he says, which is why communities-of-interest like Deep Adaptation are vitally important.


  • A TV news story about the Amadiba people’s struggle against foreign mining, and the price they have paid, in violence.
  • Sustaining the Wild Coast: The South African non-profit created by the Amadiba people to protect their ancestral lands.

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