In his Time’s Up!  An Uncivilized Solution to a Global Crisis,[1] Keith Farnish likens our civilization to a progressive addiction that has lasted for a thousand or more years already.  He sets out to show how the reader himself or herself can make the process of withdrawing from this culture as easy as possible.  In the short term, it is good to start with water discovery, capture, purification, and storage; shelter building; wild food identification and discovery, preparation, and cooking; building friendship and community spirit; and basic first aid.  Civilization itself is the worst disease of all, and the withdrawal cannot but be painful.  “It is possible to create a situation where civilization is left to crumble gradually,” he argues, “reducing the impact on humanity, and the sooner this is done, the less the global environment will be harmed.”[2]  This is essential, for an environment left in shambles will not be conducive to survival at all.  And survival is our main concern at present.  Blundering in will not do.  Careful preparation and planning are crucial here.  “Step outside civilization, and you stand a pretty good chance of surviving the inevitable,” he points out.  “Stay inside, and when the crash happens, there may be nothing at all you can do to save yourself.”[3]  So, start by consuming, eating, traveling, working, and reproducing less.  Turning “green” at this stage will not make much of a difference unless your withdrawal is not comprehensive.  But begin by realizing that time is indeed up.  Now, much of this message is very much to my liking.  Even though I do not believe that we will be able to avoid the horror that comes in the wake of the imminent collapse, just like Romans were unable to do so when their world started collapsing around them, I am still convinced that the basic thrust of Farnish’s book is right on the money, for it focuses on the individual.  All you need to do is to initiate the withdrawal process today.  Others will join you sooner or later.  The Earth Blog (www.theearthblog.org), which he founded in 2006, is a good place to start.


1. Foxhole, Dartington: Green Books, 2009.

2. Op. cit., p. 221.

3. Op. cit., p. 197.