About Time : Speed, Society, People and the Environment book cover
1st Edition

About Time
Speed, Society, People and the Environment

Edited By

Tim Aldrich

ISBN 9781874719915
Published September 1, 2005 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Where does all the time go? Despite the burgeoning army of machines designed to save us time – from cars and aeroplanes to dishwashers and microwaves – we don't seem to have any more of it on our hands. We simply fill the space we clear with more things to do – consuming more, spending more – and then look around for new ways of saving time. And so we spiral onwards, upwards, ever faster. Being busy has become a habit, and a habit that gives us high status – busy people are important people. The business of business is busy-ness. We are moving from a world in which the big eats the small, to a world where the fast eats the slow. But the fallout from a society hooked on speed is everywhere. It's affecting our health: 60 per cent of the adult population in the UK report that they suffer from stress, and more than half of these say that this has worsened over the last 12 months. It's affecting our family life, with a quarter of British families sharing a meal together only once a month. And it affects our environment too: air travel is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions, accelerating climate change as we speed around the world. And the faster we live, the faster we consume, the faster we waste energy and the faster we pollute the planet. The faster we seem to be running out of time. Is there something fundamentally wrong with the structure and values of this high-speed society? What are we running from and what are we running towards?

 Sustainable development is all about time. It's about trying to safeguard the health of the planet, and the people it supports, indefinitely, unconstrained by time. The idea of time offers a novel perspective on what sustainable development is all about. Looking at issues affecting society and the environment through the prism of time conveys the urgency of the challenge and leads us to solutions we might not have thought of before. About Time, edited by the think-tank Forum for the Future, brings together ten of the world's leading thinkers and writers, including Will Hutton, Baroness Mary Warnock, Sir Martin Rees, Ghillean Prance, Jay Griffiths (the author of the bestselling Pip Pip) and Jonathon Porritt, from disciplines including biology, business, sociology, ethnography, astronomy, philosophy, politics, history and sustainability in a collection of intriguing essays exploring the issue of time and how it relates to the environment, economy and society.

 The first half of this collection looks at different dimensions of time – from the history of time as a social phenomenon and cultural notions of time, to cosmological time and the difference between human and machine time. These "think-pieces" are followed by a series of more practical, solutions-oriented contributions, looking at how we deal with time in different contexts – from the slow food movement and time banks to long-term thinking in politics and what we can individually do to cope with the speed society.

 Contributions are liberally interspersed with boxes and brief pieces offering bite-sized facts, figures and insights relating to time and our everyday lives. About Time is a high-profile collection aimed at creating debate about where the values of our contemporary society are taking us. It will foster reflective thinking about different aspects of time, using the concept of time to communicate and illuminate the idea of sustainable development and question our idolatry of speed. In doing so, it aims to inspire and help decision-makers in business, government and elsewhere to appreciate the challenges of sustainable development, and inspire individuals to create change in their own lives. For readers of No Logo and Longitude, this book provides a thought-provoking twist, bringing together time and sustainability in a refreshing, provocative and accessible way.

Table of Contents

Introduction Tim Aldrich and Mireille Kaiser 1. Perspectives on Time Sir Martin Rees 2. Natural Clocks Sir Ghillean Prance 3. Too Many, Too Fast? Jonathon Porritt 4. Living Time Jay Griffiths 5. The Arrival of Time Politics Geoff Mulgan 6. Time and Money Will Hutton and Alexandra Jones 7. Taking People's Time Seriously David Boyle 8. Ethics in Time Baroness Mary Warnock 9. Time and Technology James Goodman and Britt Jorgensen 10. Conclusion Vidhya Alakeson

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This thought provoking compilation of essays should be the reference list of all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes concerned with social issues, time and future trends. It also needs to be brought to the attention of occupational scientists who seek to contribute to wider contextual issues of what people do in relation to a healthy, sustainable future ...

While each chapter could stand alone as a comment upon how technology or politics influences time, the editor has melded the contributions successfully to engage readers in debates about sustainability and how that impacts on society. - 'Journal of Occupational Science' Vol. 14, No. 1 (April 2007) || ... brings the many linkages between time and sustainability into sharper focus ... a collection of very readable essays ... it's a bit sobering to be reminded how out of synch we've become in our just-in-time, multitasking, everything-on-demand. 24/7 lifestyles ... and how dissatisfied ... A central theme running through many of the essays is the importance of individual choice in determining our relationship with time ...

Could it be that our relationship to sustainability is similarly constrained by a perceived lack of freedom to make choices? - Worldchanging.com - Joel Makower