1. Introduction: Setting the scene
  2. Tools of emancipation, or tools of alienation?
  3. My research approach
  4. Learning from our failures: Lessons from FairCoop
  5. Introducing the Deep Adaptation Forum (DAF)
  6. The Diversity & Decolonising Circle
  7. The Research Team
  8. The DAF Landscape: Cultivating relationality
  9. Considering DAF from a decolonial perspective
  10. Radical collective change

Considering DAF from a decolonial perspective

(a summary)


  • As a network, DAF is already inviting its participants to let go of several unhelpful characteristics of modern-colonial mindsets and habits (for example, through welcoming all affects, and a focus on relationality and self-organisation).
  • However, most DAF participants are of privileged (white, Western, middle-class...) backgrounds, which is reflected in the language used in the network, in worldviews about the possibility of future collapse, and in a focus on enacting loving responses instead of tackling unjust capitalist social structures. This can create obstacles with regards to creating relationships of solidarity with less privileged people, and addressing the systemic violence and historical harm that is at the heart of modern-colonial societies.
  • In order to work on these obstacles, DAF participants could choose to orient towards forms of decolonial love, which gives enough space to the expression of anger and rage at what is happening - and to enact forms of action and projects that constitute decolonial reparations and decolonising solidarity practices.
  • Simply expressing and integrating one's difficult emotions about the state of the world is not enough: distributed leadership should be encouraged in the network in order for more action project groups to form, in solidarity with those who are on the frontlines of socio-ecological destruction.
  • On the philosophical level, it is also important to move away from modern-colonial binaries, such as the humanity/nature separation, and towards decolonial forms of ecological thought, which view racism, sexism, or speciesm as fundamental to the ecological crisis.

In previous posts, I have strived to foreground the voices and narratives of all participants in this research, and refrained from critically engaging with their testimonies. But in this summary and the next, I will give more space to another research stream which unfolded simultaneously for me, even while I carried out my case studies on FC and DAF. This intellectual process became increasingly central to my understanding of the topic of radical collective change. I am referring to a decolonial approach to personal and collective change.

This perspective was entirely foreign to me as I began my thesis, which explains why neither my case studies nor the social learning evaluation methodologies that I deployed were particularly “decolonial.” It was during the last two years of my research, even as I was starting to write my thesis, that this approach gradually became too important a part of my understanding and reflection for me not to acknowledge it and seek to integrate it within this thesis. This was largely a result of my involvement in the DAF D&D circle [link], and thus constitutes an example of social learning taking place within an online community.

Therefore, I will now offer some reflections which may challenge the assumptions of some of my research participants, particularly in DAF, and take a closer look at the socio-cultural lenses characterising my own perspective – including its limits, impacts, and implications.

1. On decolonial thought

What do I mean by "decolonial thought"? Here's a very rough summary. (See Chapter 2, Section 2, for a more detailed introduction to this rich body of research)

I understand decolonial studies as critiquing the social, political, epistemic, and territorial forms of domination that have been imposed around the world by Euro-American colonisation (especially the colonisation of the Americas), and which have remained even after colonialism itself ended as an explicit political order. This domination led to the imposition of racial, political and social hierarchical orders by European colonialists, that prescribed value to certain peoples/societies while disenfranchising others (e.g. White-skinned people over darker-skinned people; settlers over Indigenous people; men over women; etc.). These hierarchies also enshrined humanity as separate from "nature," and entitled to dominate all over lifeforms; and the sphere of the mind/the intellect as superior and entitled to dominate the affects and the body. So the Western culture that has grown from these historical processes is based on a series of rigid binary categories, present everywhere in fractal form, from our everyday lives to the summits of power: civilised/savage; humanity/nature; White/Black; men/women; etc.

According to decolonial studies, the modern technological advancements, industrial capitalism, or conspicuous consumption that define our era are inseparable from coloniality - that is, the unjust social, political and cultural logic outlined above, which has become the hegemonic order around the world. Therefore, when speaking of modernity, decolonial scholars often refer to modernity/coloniality (or modernity-coloniality), as a single expression, to show how coloniality is the dark underside of the "bright and glittering" modernity - the two go hand and hand.

As a result, decolonial thought calls for the need to carry out epistemic decolonisation, that is, to decentre Eurocentric thought by foregrounding other non-European perspectives (that are not based on Cartesian philosophy and binaries). And for some researchers (such as those of the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures arts and research collective), modern-colonial social structures and the habit-of-being they have created are "beyond reform" and thus should be hospiced/composted so that alternative possibilities for knowing, being and relating can emerge, which can be termed ontological decolonisation. This implies a radical reconsideration of socio-historical legacies, and how these socio-cultural constructs may be reshaped in order for modern humans to live into new stories, and to become healthy elders and good ancestors for all relations.

Phew! So, what does that have to do with DAF, and radical collective change?

2. A community of privilege?

First, decolonial studies show that it is important, when producing knowledge, to pay attention to where we are speaking from - that is, to be aware of the modern-colonial tendency to assume a universalist, detached perspective, which masks how our identity and position (within modern-colonial hierarchies of value) affect how we think and what we value. I say a few words about my own positionality in a previous post.

The Deep Adaptation paper was written by a white, British, middle-class university professor, who spent most of his career in the environmental field. It was intended for publication within a scholarly journal, to be read by other sustainability academics – mainly in the global North.

It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that the people who gathered to discuss the implications of this paper, and came to form the Deep Adaptation Forum community, tended to hail from similar socio-economic and cultural backgrounds as Prof Bendell. From my experience, at the time of writing, a typical active participant in DAF is white, Western, over 40 years old, middle-class, holds a university degree, and has a history of involvement in the environmental field. This profile is very similar to mine, although I am younger (and I am male, while most active DAF participants tend to be female). This may help explain why I felt comfortable choosing DAF as a research site, rather than other social contexts in which my positionality may have been less welcome!

In what ways may the socio-economic and demographic positionality of DAF participants affect the potential for radical collective change to take place thanks to this community?

Firstly, there is evidence suggesting that the language in DAF spaces and DA(F) publications often comes across as academic and abstruse, which I have also heard from several Forum participants. People unfamiliar with such language may feel discouraged from participating in DA conversations, or even silenced by other participants’ rhetoric. This could especially affect members of marginalised communities, and thus stand as one explanatory factor for their relative absence from DAF groups.

Even more importantly, perhaps, the DA rhetoric itself has been experienced as exclusionary by people from different socio-cultural and economic backgrounds.
The original framing of DA as articulated in Jem Bendell’s seminal paper was undeniably more focused on the threat of future disruptions to a way of life considered “normal” by people from demographics like the one outlined above, and made little space for consideration of similarly frightful disruptions experienced by less privileged people (and other-than-humans) in the present or in the past. Until 2022, the “About” page of the DAF website cited the following excerpt from the paper:

The term social or societal collapse is used here to refer to the uneven ending to our current means of sustenance, shelter, security, pleasure, identity and meaning.

Neither the DA paper, nor this webpage, considered whose perspective was encapsulated within the word “our.” In the words of Malika Virah-Sawmy and Viviana Jiménez, who created a page on the DAF website about the “invisibilised voices on collapse”:

The current means of sustenance and security that some of us experience, and which we previously referred to, have not been equal or even existent for most of the world. In fact, they are built upon centuries of injustices that have led to the cyclical collapse of societies. The global majority has repeatedly experienced societal collapse in one way or another.

Accordingly, DAF’s early-day framing did not bring attention to these topics, although this began to evolve in 2022. Prof Bendell has also called for more humanitarian action and transnational solidarity efforts. However, the difficulties experienced by the D&D circle to raise funds for such efforts, as well as the first-hand experience of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in the Forum facing the denial that racism and colonialism have anything to do with climate change, point to the difficulties of championing these ideas within a context in which this awareness was only belatedly brought to the fore. I want to fully acknowledge my own responsibility for this situation, as someone who has been involved in leadership roles since the start of the network.

Besides, as discussed in the previous summary, neither the DA paper nor the foundational texts of DAF advocated for any particular course of action with regards to how the “DA agenda” ought to be applied. As a result, there was no explicit call to dismantle capitalist social structures and other systems of oppression, to redistribute wealth, or enact reparations for historical harm – although the Jem Bendell did advocate for similar measures in later texts. Consequently, DA(F) spaces have been perceived as apolitical venues for privileged participants to offer solace to one another over the anticipated loss of their way of life, at the expense of much-needed radical reforms of the social order. Some commentators have even suggested that anxiety about the impacts of climate change is often an expression of white fragility or racial anxiety. In view of the difficult emotions experienced by many DAF participants, and the community’s demographic makeup, this critique is an important one to address – I return to it below.

Finally, on a psycho-social level, it is also possible that in centring “loving responses” to global socio-ecological crises as its mission, in a spirit of “curiosity, compassion, and respect,” DAF rhetoric may be viewed as discouraging the expression of certain affects – especially anger or outrage – that are widely elicited by these crises, and presumably more within demographics with less privilege (and far more exposed to injustice and inequalities) than the typical DAF participant. Together with the points mentioned above, this could leave many less privileged people feeling alienated by DAF rhetoric.

I want to stress that to me, the positionality of DAF spaces – as mostly white, Western, educated, and middle-class spaces - is not in itself problematic. We are who we are. However, I consider that radical collective change requires facing the denial of systemic, historical, and ongoing violence and of complicity in harm (as I will develop more at length in the next blog post). And I doubt the possibility of doing so without forming relationships of solidarity with those who have historically suffered the most from the harmful aspects of modernity-coloniality. Therefore, for generative change-oriented initiatives to emerge thanks to DAF, it seems important to reduce the obstacles that may stand in the way of such relationships being formed. In the process of working on these obstacles, DAF itself may become more “diverse” as a result, but it would be very risky to make this the primary aim of such efforts, considering the long and harmful history of tokenistic “inclusion” of representatives from marginalised groups into spaces dominated by more privileged people.

So, what are some ways in which DAF might reduce the alienating effects of its framing and rhetoric?

3. Towards decolonial love

First of all, and evidently, the language used in DAF publications and within the community itself needs to be more accessible, and avoid centring the experience of its more privileged constituents. Such efforts were underway at the time of writing: for example, volunteers were helping to produce "plain language" versions of the DAF website. I will bring more attention here to the place of loving responses within DAF rhetoric, and consider to what extent can this notion be expanded to bring more attention to matters of social justice.

Let us return to the relational theory of change that came to the fore (see Annex 5.4) within the DAF framing shortly after the start of the community, and which became an essential philosophical foundation for the Forum. According to this framing, a key raison d’être for DAF groups and spaces was to enact “collapse-transcendance,” or “the psychological, spiritual and cultural shifts that may enable more people to experience greater equanimity toward future disruptions and the likelihood that our situation is beyond our control.” Participants were invited to foreground a relational mindset and to overcome their cultural indoctrination into a mindset of separation, in order to counteract the violent and xenophobic socio-political tendencies that were likely to become dominant within a context of societal collapse. Simultaneously, facilitated relational practices such as Deep Relating aimed (as I mentioned before) at encouraging reflexivity and criticality in order to start dismantling the psychological patterns feeding the mindset of separation (leading to “othering”) that underlies all systems of oppression.

In this way, the dominant framing within DAF focused on “loving responses” as a strategy to foster cooperative and non-oppressive forms of social change in uncertain times. It finds echoes in the work of community educator Sarah Jaquette Ray, who recommends adopting an attitude of “curiosity, flexibility, and respect” (p.99) and cultivating “compassionate curiosity” (p.110) to build alliances between social groups around climate change action, and constructively harness climate anxiety in non-polarizing ways. But importantly, Ray centres the need to “make climate change a social justice issue and recognizing that our position in society—our relative access to power and privilege—affects the way we frame and feel about these issues” (p.106) – which is a perspective that emerged only belatedly in DAF. She also explicitly validates feelings of anger in the face of injustice and oppression, but calls for cooperation and community-building in spite of these strong emotions:

That is the real challenge—to hold space for both righteous anger and curious compassion. (p.109)

For DAF groups and spaces to become more welcoming of participants from marginalised groups motivated by aspirations for socially just political change, it may be important to give more space to righteous anger and people’s passion for justice. Such containers are often part of certain methodologies utilised in DAF, such as the Work that Reconnects. In the words of Black feminist Audre Lorde (1984, p. 133),

I’ve suckled this wolf’s lip of anger and I have used it for illumination, laughter, protection, fire in places where there was no light, no food, no sisters, no quarter.

As pointed out by Christine Hentschel (2022), rage and anger “can be visionary and creative” and “transformed into care, consolation, solidarity, and justice” (p.6). These affects should not be invisibilised rhetorically by the intention to overcome othering.

Going further, Nelson Maldonado-Torres (2016) considers that the struggle to transcend the ontological separation and the omnipresent paradigm of war that characterise our time requires both love, and rage. Rejecting liberal romantic notions of love, he considers Chela Sandoval's concept of decolonial love as a critical part of decolonisation as a political and social project. For Sandoval (2000),

[decolonial love is] a ‘breaking’ through whatever controls in order to find ‘understanding and community’… as a set of practices and procedures that can transit all citizen-subjects, regardless of social class, toward a differential mode of consciousness and its accompanying technologies of method and social movement. (p. 139)

Maldonado-Torres views decolonial love as key for human beings to recover their agency as “node[s] of love and understanding,” and to allow love and rage to scar the wounds of modernity-coloniality, while creating new bridges between people who have been split apart.

But what does this love look like, in practice? One way to express it could be that of decolonial reparations, as suggested by Yomaira Figueroa (2015). These involve “a recognition of structural, gendered, and intergenerational violence and a move away from its normalization” demonstrated through reparations for historical injustice and structural violence as “intergenerational and collective acts of love” - beyond “the oft-used positivistic calculation of debts or apologies owed." Importantly, such reparations should be based on a deep understanding of the continuing impacts and consequences of colonialism, and accompanied with a commitment to transform the ideologies and structures that keep perpetuating these impacts and forms of oppression.

I suspect that enacting decolonial loving responses through the praxis of decolonial reparations may constitute a fertile avenue of exploration and political engagement for DAF groups, and other communities with similar demographics. It could enable a deeper acknowledgement of systemic harm, of our complicity in it, and pave the way for more generative engagement with the struggles of marginalised groups and communities. This may involve giving space to the expression and witnessing of anger, rage, and other affects of resistance within appropriate containers, while preserving compassion, curiosity and respect as central values guiding the “intergenerational and collective acts of love” advocated by Figueroa. Besides, reparations can be seen as an essential ingredient of any process of reconciliation – which is an important theme in the Deep Adaptation agenda.

Concrete forms of reparations could include, for instance, pressuring governments to carry out debt cancellation in Global South countries, or to allow for cross-borders freedom of movement as critical climate justice and adaptation measures; or demanding reparations for slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, and the restitution of cultural artefacts and human body parts that were stolen by the European colonial powers in Africa and elsewhere, and which are exhibited in galleries or archived in Europe’s museums and libraries. At a more personal or community level, reparations might also be envisioned as decolonising solidarity practices, through unconditional (material and political) solidarity with Indigenous struggles, critical reflexion on how to decolonise the solidarity effort itself, and “taking active steps towards building ‘right’ relations, with a commitment to both naming and righting the material, epistemic, cultural and political injustices of present and past.”

Let us now turn to the question of eco-emotions as a key topic of discussion within DAF spaces.

4. Eco-emotions and the need for constructive action

As I have shown in the previous post, relational and somatic processes play an important role in DAF groups, and help many participants to better integrate within their lives the difficult emotions arising from their awareness of socio-ecological crises. In studies as in popular usage, such difficult emotions are often grouped under broad labels such as eco-anxiety, ecological grief or solastalgia. Scholars have discussed the lack of conceptual clarity within this emerging field, and pointed out that this complex experience may involve feelings of frustration, overwhelm, guilt, grief, fear, numbness, uncertainty for the future, a sense of disrupted place-based attachments, existential concerns around meaning and loss, as well as anger or betrayal, pre- and post-traumatic stress, or even love and wonder. Surveys disseminated during our research showed an equally varied array of emotional responses to the anticipation or experience of societal collapse among DAF participants. I will use the term eco-emotions to refer to them, following Panu Pihkala.

In view of the relatively privileged socio-cultural and economic background of most DAF participants, does spending time processing one’s eco-emotions constitute an indulgence that comes at the expense of political organising, as some have suggested?

First of all, it is important to note that eco-emotions are far from being the preserve of privileged white demographics. Research indicates that disadvantaged communities – especially racialised people - in Global North countries are as likely, or more likely, to be affected by such emotions, due to their stronger exposure to environmental impacts of all kinds; indeed, a study that surveyed 10,000 young people around the world found that 75% of those in Global South countries such as Nigeria, India, or the Philippines felt the climate crisis was negatively impacting their ability to function on a daily basis, in contrast to countries less impacted by climate disasters such as the UK, where 45% of respondents felt negatively impacted. Indigenous communities around the world have been shown to be particularly strongly affected by eco-emotions, as a result of physical ecological losses, disruptions to their environmental knowledge and loss of identity, as well as anticipated future ecological losses. In other words, eco-emotions evidently have a huge impact on the communities most exposed to ecological crises globally, due to structural inequities and injustices. This points to the need for mental health support systems offered to those who often have the least social and economic access to such support.

Why is it, then, that more privileged (or White) demographics have been denounced as most concerned about finding relief for their eco-anxiety and other eco-emotions? This perception may be due in part to asymmetries of epistemological access to scientific and medical discourse on topics such as “eco-emotions,” on top of easier access to means of communication about these issues. Other demographics may lack the vocabulary to discuss such topics, or feel stigmatised when they do.

Nonetheless, concerns that eco-emotions in dominant groups may bring about about xenophobia and even forms of fascism seem warranted: scholars have shown that anxiety can be a source of defensive routines that undermine collective efforts toward generative change. How to avoid this?

Psychologists have shown that eco-emotions are part and parcel of living with the awareness of socio-ecological crises, and can in fact be harnessed for positive change. But in order for this to happen, these emotions must be properly engaged, if possible through group or community interventions, and not ignored by rushing into problem-solving, which is what contemporary cultures drive most of us to do. Many scholars have argued for constructive engagement with one’s emotions by means of practical workshop activities. Jo Hamilton (2022) shows that this may enable one to develop emotional reflexivity – or the embodied and relational awareness of (and attention to) the ways that people engage with and feel about issues, the actions they take, the stories and worldviews they inhabit, and their perceptions of individual and collective agency. She explored approaches that may contribute to a “‘deep determination’ and ongoing resource to act for environmental and social justice, and to live the future worth fighting for in the present” (p.1). However, this requires the possibility to keep engaging with these practices regularly, as part of social settings that offer a locus for action, or “climate change engagement for the long haul” (p.16).

This corresponds with the results of the process of eco-anxiety and ecological grief charted by Pihkala (2022), on the basis of a wide-ranging interdisciplinary review. A key insight of this model is that once a person has gained awareness of the depth and scale of socio-ecological issues, coping and adjusting to this awareness (and, hopefully, reaching a stage in which one can live with it skillfully) requires grieving, taking action, and finally distancing oneself from one’s eco-emotions. Thus, if any of these dimensions are lacking (for example, if one neglects to engage with their emotions), a person is likely to eventually experience burnout or other forms of breakdown.

I draw two conclusions from these studies. First of all, they validate a foundational premise of DAF – i.e. that developing emotional reflexivity is in fact an essential aspect of learning to live with one’s awareness of socio-ecological crises; and furthermore, that this “inner work” enables one to take generative action as a result of this awareness.

Secondly, they point to the critical importance of finding, in one’s everyday life, occasions to actively engage on these issues in parallel to this inner work – which is so important (not just for psychological reasons, but also ethically), although discernment is needed to figure out which forms of action are helpful, be it to alleviate the ecological crisis or advance human well-being, as Panu Pihkala points out.

Thus, in the case of online communities like DAF, participants will likely benefit from leadership that catalyses various forms of collective action, as well as group structures and processes favouring critical discernment in doing so (I will return to these aspects in the next summary). And considering that more vulnerable communities and other-than-humans have long been on the frontlines of ecological and societal collapse, and suffer more heavily from physical, mental, and community health issues, it seems ethically necessary that any action – including local community-building – be taken first and foremost in a spirit of solidarity with these other inhabitants of the Earth. The decolonial reparations discussed above may constitute such forms of action.

5. Beyond the nature-culture dualism

Finally, I will touch upon certain philosophical underpinnings of DA and DAF, and examine how these (implicit or explicit) ontological and epistemological foundations may benefit from being examined critically.

Decolonial scholars, such as Kothari and colleagues (2019), point to anthropocentrism as an early cause of the current planetary socio-ecological crises, due to

the ancient monotheistic premise that a father ‘God’ made the Earth for the benefit of ‘his’ human children... At least in the West, it evolved into a philosophic habit of pitting humanity against nature, and gave rise to related dualisms such as the divide between subject versus object, mind versus body, masculine versus feminine, civilized versus barbarian. These classic ideological categories legitimize devastation of the natural world, as well as the exploitation of sex-gender, racial, and civilizational differences. (p.xxii).

Indeed, the philosophical split between nature and culture (humans-nonhumans) is one of the most distinctive markers of the modern-colonial mindset. Anthropologists such as Descola (2015) have shown that the very notion of “nature” is overwhelmingly absent from any onto-epistemologies other than the modern one.

So going beyond anthropocentrism and the nature-culture dualism (along with other modern-colonial binaries) can be seen as an essential task, in order to explore ways of engaging with socio-ecological crises that do not reproduce the ways of being and knowing that led to these crises. What elements of DA(F) discourse and philosophy are helpful in engaging with this task, or on the contrary, stand in the way of doing so?

Deep ecology and biocentrism

Deep ecology is an influential environmental philosophy which has, as a foundational premise, the belief that “humans must radically change their relationship to nature from one that values nature solely for its usefulness to human beings to one that recognizes that nature has an inherent value.” In recommending a shift "from an 'anthropocentric' to a 'biocentric' perspective,” this school of thought enables a recognition that human existence is inseparable from that of other-than-humans, and foregrounds a relational ontology.

There are indications that deep ecology is one of the philosophical roots of DA. This includes explicit references from the DAF founder:

A ‘Deep Ecology’ perspective invites a non-anthropocentric account of the relationship between ‘humans’ and nature.

The biocentric perspective that deep ecology invites can be seen as a step forward in remedying the “philosophic habit of pitting humanity against nature.” However, this perspective has also been criticised for perpetuating the nature-culture dualism central to the modern-colonial paradigm: indeed, as is evident from the passage above, “nature” still features as an entity distinct from “humans.”

Moreover, in deep ecological writings, the former tends to be valued over the latter, which in itself can be problematic. Critics have pointed out that deep ecology’s biocentric orientation, by regarding humans as “an outsized threat to non-human life on the planet,” lended itself to misanthropic and even eco-fascist tendencies – especially in view of calls for substantial decreases in human population to address (perceived) issues of “natural resource consumption.” Others have also criticised the movement for its focus on defending “pristine wilderness,” and overlooking how this preservationist perspective may come at the expense of marginalised communities such as Indigenous peoples, who may be displaced from their lands to create national parks.

The reader may notice several references to “nature” or “the natural world” in some of my previous posts, be it in participant testimonials, or even in my own words – in spite of my conscious intention to avoid reproducing the nature-culture dualism. This points to the great difficulty of doing so, when the very language we use is so steeped with such binaries. Moreover, most of these references likely carry, implicitly, the deep ecology frame of “nature as something pristine, beautiful, wild, to be protected.” Considering the problematic aspects of such a frame, it seems important to carry out more conscious efforts on the level of discourse within prefigurative communities like DAF - while recognising that the issue is less about individuals becoming more virtuous, and more about enacting cultural change. Ultimately, the aim should be to embrace an ecology that relinquishes the idea of “nature” itself. In the words of Slavoj Žižek (2007), “The first premise of a truly radical ecology should be, ‘Nature doesn't exist.’”

A decolonial ecology

Beyond the nature-culture dualism, deep ecology has also been criticised for its apolitical view of systems change. This has led scholars to recommend integrating its relational ontology with frameworks - such as that of social ecology - that recognise the class-based struggles of marginalised people:

Radical social ecology investigates the material, social, and spiritual conditions of an ecological society by pursuing the elimination of human’s domination of nature via the elimination of human’s domination of humans. It connects ecological issues to a broad array of interconnected social issues.

Similarly, Malcolm Ferdinand (2021) acknowledges the value of deep ecology’s gestalt ontology, which centres the interrelatedness of human and other-than-human existence. But in order to avoid homogeneising “humans” and their diverse histories, he calls for “a relational ontology that recognizes that our existence and our bodies are made up of encounters with a plurality of human beings and a plurality of non-human beings.” (p.231) On this foundation, Ferdinand proposes a decolonial ecology as “an ecology of struggle... a matter of challenging the colonial ways of inhabiting the Earth and living together” (p.175). Like Fatima Ouassak's (2023) pirate ecology, decolonial ecology establishes colonisation, racism, gender discriminations, but also speciesm, as processes integral to the ecological crisis:

[D]ecolonial ecology turns the degradation of social life, the extractivism of Negro skins, and environmental racism into the primary targets of ecological action. Yes, antiracism and decolonial critique are the keys to the ecological struggle. (Ferdinand, 2021, p.179. Italics in the original)
[T]he collective and urgent issue at stake here is the overthrow of the slave-making inhabitation of the Earth, which enslaves human and non-human animals… Antislavery and decolonial emancipation also involves decolonizing our modes of consumption and our relations to non-human animals. (Ferdinand, 2021, p.224-5)

There is much to do in order for this perspective to permeate DAF spaces more fully. This is especially important to avoid forms of discourse that flatten “humanity” into an undifferentiated subject causing societal or ecological collapse, which obscures the historical processes that have brought about such crises and the very different impacts created and suffered by various demographics (most obviously, European colonists as compared to colonised peoples; or middle-class people from the global minority as compared to working-class people from the global majority).

As this summary has shown, the social learning evaluation I carried out in DAF led me to adopt a critical, decolonial stance that was difficult to accommodate using the Wenger-Trayner evaluation methodology, which is values-agnostic. Therefore, in order to further my reflection on these matters, I turned to another field of literature and practice. In the next summary, I will explore more fully how the decolonial approach has come to inform my idea of radical collective change, and how it helps to assess the relevance of both FairCoop and DAF in this regard.