Cadence Roundtable

Environmental breakdown: professional peer-support, policy and practice

Previous Workshops

Our events are not recorded, in order to maintain a confidential environment for everyone taking part. However let us give you a flavour of topics explored at previous Cadence workshops.

Initiating workplace conversations on environmental breakdown: It takes courage, empathy, persistence and planning to introduce existential threats into our work with colleagues. First impressions count, and pitfalls can open up at any time. In the first of two workshops, we considered one-to-one conversations. In the second we focussed on meetings and group settings, and invited participants to identify strategies for normalising environmental breakdown conversations.

Extreme weather: time to get serious. Following flooding of unprecedented ferocity in Europe, this workshop reflected on what extreme weather events mean for the communities living through them, for national adaptation efforts and for us as individuals in our work and the places where we live.

Unpicking ‘resilience’: what do we mean, and what does that mean we need to do? The terms ‘adaptation’ and ‘resilience’ give the impression of a manageable problem – an inadequate reflection of where we are and where we are headed. This session considered realistic policy approaches to preparedness that match the problems we face.

Climate and conflict: emerging dimensions in policy and professional ethics. How are large, strategic and international organisations preparing for and engaging with climate threats? What can we understand about how the ‘new normal’ of climate instability is being managed and how does this relate to our own professional experiences? In this session we heard from two international development and human rights professionals speaking about the experience of working on complex global emergencies as climate change starts to bite. Further detail in this blog

The ethics of transparency.  In environmental breakdown are there risks from ‘excessive’ or ‘unmanaged’ transparency, for instance in social unrest, public mental health or economic volatility?  What does the responsible disclosure of existential climate risk look like?  Or is the upper end of ‘not enough’ disclosure already ‘too much’ for the common good?

Breaking the collapse taboo.  It is becoming ever clearer that what is technically feasible to mitigate carbon emissions might not be politically or practically feasible. How can we change the terms of business to encompass vulnerability, uncertainty and whatever lies beyond the myth of progress?

The hyper-local and the enabling centre.  In a scenario of environmental breakdown, resilience must be local, and national government must make room.  What would hyper-local networks that are resilient to collapse look like, and what role then for the nation state?

Finding the words. In politics and policy one must choose words carefully.  When is it best to talk about ‘collapse’, ‘breakdown’ or ‘disruption’?  We discussed how much we are prepared to compromise on our vocabulary to get into the room.