Shaun Chamberlin is an author and activist, based in London, England. He is the author of The Transition Timeline, co-author of several other books including What We Are Fighting For, chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative, and was one of the earliest Extinction Rebellion arrestees.
He is also known for his collaboration with the late David Fleming, having brought his award-winning lifework Lean Logic to posthumous publication, developed from it the paperback Surviving the Future, and served as executive producer on Peter William Armstrong's 2020 feature film about Fleming's legacy - The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?
- All our thoughts and beliefs are somehow hollow until they find expression in action.
- Accusations of hypocrisy themselves tend to be rather hypocritical — if no hypocrites were permitted to hold opinions, there would likely be no opinions at all.
- Failure to live up to a truth doesn’t make it any less true, less worth striving for, or less worth defending.
- Our globalised world finds itself caught on the horns of a seemingly impossible dilemma – either cease growing, and so collapse the economy on which we all depend, or continue to grow until we overwhelm and destroy the ecosystems on which we all depend.
- I always thought economics wasn’t the be-all and end-all of life. Now I realise it might be the end-all.
- Put starkly, most of the wild nature that was here fifty years ago is gone. And still we seek to grow the human economy, and cheer when that growth accelerates.
- The only economic system that has ever truly worked – the system upon which all others have depended – is Nature.
- Have you noticed how over recent decades, our expectations of the future have gradually shifted? How maybe we used to quietly assume that life for the next generation would be better than ours, and now quietly assume the opposite? That is not the mark of a civilisation that is making good choices. That is not a show that we need to get back on the road.
- The threat to our way of life is a consequence of our way of life. That's what unsustainability means.
- It is hopefully not too controversial to note that unsustainable things end. There are two possibilities from here – we dramatically change direction or we end up where we are headed. Either way, we are on the cusp of radical change.
- There’s a really interesting thing about despair, I think. It has a spark in it of deep motivation. I think despair can be described as looking at every possible scenario and seeing no hopeful one. But what that means is, if you can present someone in despair with one scenario that looks hopeful – that looks like a real possibility – then there’s this immense wealth of motivation to drive toward it, because despair is not a nice place to be.
- It’s demonstrably not ‘simply human nature’ to annihilate all around us. No, it’s the nature of this particular human culture. Human potential is so much more, and that’s why conflating the two is so toxic.
- Whatever you do will change the world. If you take the most default option, you follow the most mainstream, down the line, ‘just keep your head down and get on with what they’re telling you to do’, approach, then that’s the world that you’re helping to create. There is no way that you can not change the world.
- No system can ever relieve us of our personal responsibility, and it is essential that we all recognise the need to change the way we live.
- Resilience isn't predicting the correct future and preparing for it; resilience is acting in ways that make sense across the widest range of possible futures.
- It has become impossible to be simultaneously realistic about both the political climate and the science of climate. The two stubbornly refuse to reconcile, so we are forced to decide which carries more weight, and then be profoundly unrealistic about the other. To take present policy seriously demands a total rejection of the science. To take the science seriously demands a total rejection of the policy on the table. And so grassroots movements like the Extinction Rebellion and Climate Mobilization are emerging – the realists of a larger reality.
- Chamberlin's Dark Optimism website
- 2015 - Academic paper in the Carbon Management journal advocating for TEQs, lead-authored by Chamberlin
- 2016 - Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy - the paperback which Chamberlin drew from David Fleming's Lean Logic
- 2017 - "Community, Place and Play: A Post-Market Economics" - Schumacher College course taught by Chamberlin, in partnership with Rob Hopkins and Mark Boyle
- 2018 - "Surviving the Future" course - Footage from Sterling College symposium and course, inspired by Chamberlin's book
- 2020 - LeanLogic.online - Freely-accessible reworking of David Fleming's posthumous Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It as an interactive website
- 2020 - The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation? - Feature film produced by Chamberlin and directed by Peter William Armstrong
- 2020 - EcoGather program - Sterling College launch $1.5m educational program in consultation with Chamberlin, including Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time live online course