Do you agree with James Hansen that the system of industrial civilization is the problem?

A book by 'environmental writer and activist' Keith Farnish claims that the efforts to reduce Co2 emissions are nowhere near enough to save the earth from global warming as the system of industrial civilisation itself is “fatally flawed and needs to be removed from the face of the earth, before the... show more A book by 'environmental writer and activist' Keith Farnish claims that the efforts to reduce Co2 emissions are nowhere near enough to save the earth from global warming as the system of industrial civilisation itself is “fatally flawed and needs to be removed from the face of the earth, before the inevitable ecological collapse brings it down in far more horrible circumstances.”

It advocates a world without the current system of industrial civilisation, with "no cities, no paved roads, no pylons, no offices or factories" .It advises that we all learn "shelter building" rather then build traditional homes.(more details of the book can be found at the "Make Wealth History" website listed below.)

Okay, so far, so what, plenty of nutty books out there on both sides, right? Then i turned to the back cover and was amazed to see this recommendation by James Hansen, of NASA GISS:


"Keith Farnish has it right: time has practically run out, and the 'system' is the problem. Governments are under the thumb of fossil fuel special interests - they will not look after our and the planet's well-being until we force them to do so, and that is going to require enormous effort. --Professor James Hansen, GISS, NASA"

Surely this is going too far isn't it? To advocate a return to a pre-industrial civilasation. I can't believe someone like James Hansen believes this is the right solution. Along with most people i'm all in favour of renewable and nuclear energy rather than fossil fuels, but not this. What do you think? Is Keith Farnish 'right'? And is James Hansen right to agree with him?

The book and Hansen's review can be seen at:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Times-Up-Uncivilized-Solution-Global/dp/190032248X/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262476161&sr=1-6

For a brief review - and a reply from the author! - see the "Make Wealth History" website here:
http://makewealthhistory.org/2009/11/12/times-up-by-keith-farnish/

.
Update: . Just found out there's a shorter online version available free at: http://www.farnish.plus.com/amatterofscale/index.htm Chapter 16 is worth reading, here's a quote from the "Sabotaging" section: "It may be satisfying to burn down a garage full of SUVs if you have a virulent hatred... show more .
Just found out there's a shorter online version available free at:

http://www.farnish.plus.com/amatterofscale/index.htm

Chapter 16 is worth reading, here's a quote from the "Sabotaging" section:

"It may be satisfying to burn down a garage full of SUVs if you have a virulent hatred of gas-guzzling road transport; but these places are insured and there are plenty more SUVs where they came from. In the context of reconnecting humanity, such actions are only symbolic. Far better to sabotage the advertisers and marketing media that encourages people to buy SUVs in the first place; far better to sabotage the government agencies and trade bodies that ensure that vehicle sales and production remain a high priority; far better to sabotage the efforts of the oil and motor companies in convincing people that climate change is nothing to do with them, and even if it is, the disappearing ice-caps are not really that much of a problem."
Update 2: EDIT - to Dawei I would like to think you're right and that he's simply agreeing that 'time has run out'. But I don't understand why he would say that the system is the problem when the book is very clear that the system is modern civilisation and that it "needs to be removed from the... show more EDIT - to Dawei

I would like to think you're right and that he's simply agreeing that 'time has run out'. But I don't understand why he would say that the system is the problem when the book is very clear that the system is modern civilisation and that it "needs to be removed from the face of the earth".

I think he should have been more careful and simply not have recommended the book.
Update 3: EDIT: Linlyons and Liberal_60: With respect, you both seem to wilfully ignore what Hansen says in his review, that "the 'system' is the problem". The book very clearly states that the 'system' is industrial civilisation and that it needs to be ended. Try reading some of the online... show more EDIT: Linlyons and Liberal_60:

With respect, you both seem to wilfully ignore what Hansen says in his review, that "the 'system' is the problem".

The book very clearly states that the 'system' is industrial civilisation and that it needs to be ended. Try reading some of the online version and you will see what i mean. He has agreed with and recommended a book that argues for anarcho-primitivism.

By all means defend Hansen, but don't try and skip past what he actually said, that the 'system' is the problem, and the context in which he said it, a review of book calling for an end to it.
20 answers 20