Dumbo Feather Issue 61

Dumbo Feather is an iconic Australian magazine. Published quarterly for seven years, and hailed around the world as a design leader, it is a magazine like no other. Our readers are people who want to be told a different story than the one they hear every day. Each quarterly issue features five extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, education, science, sport, politics, fashion and the arts. Whether they’ve touched millions, or just those around them, we take the time to get to know these people, and ask them to tell us their stories.

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3 Edities

in deze editie

2 min

Dear friend, Over the past five months, I’ve been immersed in climate science and conversations about our future that have sent me into various states of panic, overwhelm and despair. One minute I’m hit with a terrifying vision of what life could look like for my young nieces and nephew, the next I’m reaching for the phone mindlessly opening apps and scrolling. It’s like I’ve been existing in extremes: adrenaline-fuelled one moment, withdrawn the next. At Dumbo Feather, we felt compelled to speak to this moment and what we were understanding about the climate tragedy. There’s too much at stake to ignore or make small of what researchers and wisdom keepers are telling us. What became apparent as we were working through the content is that we can be, and need to…

7 min
embracing deep adaptation

“Living with the consciousness of impending catastrophes can be a painful lot; but to me, it has also been the entry point into a caring, generous and inspiring community of people.” “Society’s going to collapse, you know. Our global civilisation is heading for the abyss.” The conversation veered in an unexpected direction, that evening of February 2018 at Prima’s Pure Vegetarian restaurant. Nearby, a gecko let out his sonorous mating call in the fragrant, tropical air. A scooter zoomed at breakneck speed down steep Penestanan road—they say it was a dirt path between paddy fields just five years ago. I frowned, and had another spoonful of spicy pumpkin soup. “What makes you think that?” Jem Bendell finished his fried satay skewer, and scooped up some spinach in gado-gado sauce. He looked tired,…

9 min
radical adaptation

“We are asked by our evolutionary predicament to become better humans—with better, more co-creative conversations, relationships and projects.” We are at a moment in time when more and more people are beginning to panic over what seems to be impending civilisational apocalypse. David Wallace-Wells’s book, The Uninhabitable Earth unpacks the horrific implications of climate change. Greta Thunberg, the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion are catalysing an enormous international climate-aware movement that is making Democratic candidates for the US presidency speak of existential risk. Society is slowly recognising that human civilisation won’t sustain as it has been. An influential paper by a British professor of sustainable business named Jem Bendell called “Deep Adaptation” has gone viral this year. In it he says that he has lost hope that we can avert “near-term societal…

8 min
weaving back into the web

“What could it look like to really plan for this kind of future together? What would we need to reimagine about our lives? What kinds of new connections would we need to make with each other, with the land we live on, within ourselves?” The fireplace my sharehouse affectionately calls “the little howler” burns in one corner of the lounge room as the visitors arrive. It’s fake, but elicits enough real and imagined warmth to provide a hearth of a kind for the dozen neighbours, flatmates and friends pulling up cushions and balancing plates piled high with homegrown radish, kale, rocket and Chinese cabbage. On one wall hangs a bundle of nettle harvested from a nearby backyard. Finding a spot in the circle, I’m suddenly nervous. I’ve called people here for…

5 min
global or local? two paths to the future

“Localisation means getting out of the highly unstable and exploitative bubbles of speculation and debt, and back to the real economy—our interface with other people and the natural world.” For our species to have a future, it must be local. The good news is that the path to such a future is already being forged. Away from the screens of the mainstream media, the crude “bigger is better” narrative that has dominated economic thinking for centuries is being challenged by a much gentler, more “feminine,” inclusive perspective that places human and ecological wellbeing front and centre. People are coming to recognise that connection, both to others and to nature herself, is the wellspring of human happiness. And every day, new, inspiring initiatives are springing up that offer the potential for genuine…

14 min
joanna macy reconnects

SUBJECT Joanna Macy OCCUPATION Writer and facilitator INTERVIEWER Nathan Scolaro PHOTOGRAPHER Adam Loften LOCATION Berkeley, US DATE August, 2019 Joanna Macy began engaging deeply with this moment of reckoning we’re facing, a period she has coined “the great turning,” more than 60 years ago—long before we had any of the climate science we have today. A true pioneer in resilience thinking, she saw early on that human impact on the planet, and in particular the consumer growth mindset brought about by capitalism, was creating deep-rooted trauma, and in ways that weren’t typically visible to the everyday person. She made it her life’s work to enliven, through writing and group workshops, people’s desire and ability to take part in the planet’s healing. “Of all the dangers we face,” she wrote, “from climate chaos to nuclear war, none…