Following recent interviews with Joseph Tainter and John Michael Greer, the third instalment of our mini-series investigating the inevitable collapse of industrial civilization welcomes activist and author Keith Farnish to discuss some of the key issues raised in his book Time’s Up! An Uncivilized Solution to a Global Crisis.
Keith is a father, a writer, a thinker, a grower, a baker, a maker, a talker and a listener who is learning to once again connect with the real world. He lives in a village in the Scottish Borders with a wife, two children and six chickens. Time’s Up! is his first book and was published in March 2009. He recently completed the follow-up, Underminers. Some of his other writings can be read at The Earth Blog and The Unsuitablog.
Time’s Up is not an environmental book, even though it is concerned with the environment. It is not a book to save the world, even though the world is clearly in trouble. Ultimately, Time’s Up is a book about survival; about ensuring that every individual human has the means to save herself or himself from the global crisis that is unfolding.
People know that the climate is changing, that species are being removed from the Earth at a rapidly increasing rate, that entire ecosystems are becoming shadows of their former richness; they know, but they do not understand. The global environmental crisis is closing in on humanity from all directions, yet the crisis barely registers on this culture’s list of problems.
As we stand, humanity is doomed to a collapse that will leave only a few nomads, and a toxic, barely survivable Earth in its wake. So why is nothing being done beyond changing light bulbs, recycling and buying organic food? It’s certainly not for a lack of good reasons.
Humans have no motivation stronger than survival, yet the culture that dominates – the culture we call Industrial Civilization – has created a set of priorities that value financial wealth, the possession of superfluous goods and short, cheap thrills, above that most basic need. In short, we are prepared to die in order to live a life that is killing us.
Time’s Up is all about changing this. It describes what our actions are doing to the very things on Earth that we depend on for survival, at scales that we rarely contemplate. It arms us with the tools to free us from the culture that has blinded us for centuries, and which will allow us to live lives that will give the Earth, and ourselves, a future. Time’s Up! proposes something radical, fundamental and frightening; something long-term, exhilarating and absolutely necessary; something totally uncivilized.
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