19-20 April 2024  / Budapest

19-20 April 2024 / Budapest

World Adaptation Forum

Bend or Break Together

19-20 April 2024 / National University of Public Service, Budapest


The exponential growth of technological civilization since the mid-20th century has been made possible by cheap, high energy density fossil fuels, which have been available in almost unlimited quantities. However, the idea of a global economy of continuous growth is now being challenged by the limits of our planet’s finite resources.

This has led to a series of crises – environmental, economic, health, security and energy – whose mutually reinforcing effects are becoming more difficult to manage every day. Much of humanity continues to believe that these crises can be solved through continued technological progress, but this is constrained by the finite nature of natural resources and the increasing energy demands required to extract and process them.

The continuation of current financial and economic production practices threatens the viability of the social, political and economic institutions of modern industrial civilization. Without them, basic human needs (water, food, energy, health, security) will not be met.

Aims of the initiative

Without a broad and honest confrontation with the problems outlined above, it is inconceivable to address them effectively. Natural laws, time constraints and available resources limit our options.

As we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have been developed in response to our global problems, we must also consider the increasing likelihood that current crises will deepen and create new tensions. For example, achieving a net zero transition, which aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will require and divert many resources from other tasks, which could lead to general societal discontent.

There is a need for general education and broad social dialogue about the problems that will arise and the inevitable consequences. Comprehensive scientific research programs on adaptation are essential to provide the basis for optimal decisions, considering both opportunities and constraints.

This initial series of conferences, planned to take place at least once a year, aims to lay the foundations for the broad dialogue that is currently lacking.

I. World Adaptation Forum

In his 2018 paper Deep Adaptation, Professor Jem Bendell drew attention to the unsustainability and likely collapse of current models of civilizational functioning. An international movement called Deep Adaptation was launched in 2019 and celebrates its 5th anniversary this year. The Hungarian edition of Jem Bendell’s book Breaking Together will be announced during the event.

The first World Adaptation Forum will be held in part to mark those occasions, with the long-term core objectives of the conference series in mind.