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WHAT IS 'RADICAL ANIMAL'?
My name is Pat Kane, I'm a Glasgow-and-London-based writer, musician, activist and consultant. In 2004 I brought out a book called The Play Ethic, which celebrated the power and potential of play to transform both individuals and societies.
But I realised about a year ago that the book had a serious omission. There was almost no consideration of climate change - and particularly how a low-carbon future challenged the creative, interactive lifestyles it described and prescribed.
RADICAL ANIMAL began as an attempt to rectify that omission. I've been talking widely and reading deeply in the areas of neuroscience, evolutionary theory, networks, eco-economics, sustainability and many other areas, trying to answer some basic questions:
How much does hyper-consumerism exploit that playful side of our human nature that loves novelty, pleasure and innovation? And:
- Can we reconnect our creative selves to a new kind of lifestyle - one that pursues the active joys of making, sharing, crafting and collaborating?
In terms of getting this message out, I started going down the route I travelled before (long book, sharp agent, big publisher...) But I soon realised I'd have to do things differently, in the era of social media, print-on-demand and the power of community involvement - not to mention the consideration of treading lightly upon the planet's resources.
So I've come up with the idea of a "book-net" as a way both to get RADICAL ANIMAL written, and involve a community of stakeholders in its creation, development and future.
WHAT IMPACT WILL "RADICAL ANIMAL" HAVE ON THE WIDER WORLD?
- Firstly I want RADICAL ANIMAL to shift some of the basic discussions that we're having about our response to climate change. I think that green activism is great at showing how our developed-world lifestyles will have to radically change as climate change begins to worsen (as it will now inevitably do). But they haven't done a great job in breaking through the complacency of all those currently locked into high-consumption living. Asking people to wear a hair-shirt won't do it - but showing how much hedonism and lasting satisfaction lies on the other side of the work-to-earn-to-consume civilisation might do.
I think that talking about play is key in this: it's both an instantly familiar aspect of our own experience, but one that we also share with other natural creatures. Making a strong case for the enabling conditions of play - the combination of support and risk, of caring and freedom it involves - will bring us new insights into how we reshape our societies and economies, so we can support the kind of low-impact joy and conviviality that playful activities bring to our lives.
- Secondly, I want RADICAL ANIMAL to be a network that gathers together best practice in creative, innovative and playful responses to the challenges of sustainability. I've built the basic site on the Ning platform because I want to support whatever active community springs up around the ideas in the book, and takes them forward into their own lives, organisations and localities.
- And thirdly - and most conventionally - I'd like RADICAL ANIMAL to be a really good book! But not one produced and consumed in the usual ways... I intend to use print-on-demand services like Lulu and Blurb to get the book out to people, if they want it in a traditional format. But I want to embrace the new e-book platforms like Amazon Kindle and iBooks, as well as other means of digital distribution. And if you feel interested enough to get involved at this early stage of the process, I want to try out a different, closer relationship between writer and reader. For more on which, see below... .
WHAT WE NEED - & WHAT YOU GET
WHAT WE NEED
$10,000 is my target amount (6062.00 at a $ rate to UK sterling of $1.6496) - twice the number initially suggested by IndieGoGo when you initially sign on.
The bulk of this money ($2000 per month, covering May-August 2011) is to buy me some time to write the initial RADICAL ANIMAL manuscript. Most of the research is done - it just requires being chained to a keyboard for regular, concentrated periods until August. I'll obviously be expending my own resources, until your good generosity and interest provides... :-)
The remaining $2000 will cover some of the costs of setting up the "book-net" - the yearly cost of a Ning Pro network ($659.77/399.95), costs to engage with Blurb, Lulu, Amazon Kindle, iBooks and other platforms, some kind of layout, design and coding for the book text itself.
WHAT YOU GET
Please look at the list of perks at the right hand side of this page. The general principle is that the more you can give, the more of my time, customised input and personal commitment you can buy.
On all the perks up until the August deadline, I'm going to provide a free PDF copy of the book with no DRM constraints, as a special gift to early contributors (I'm following Douglas Rushkoff's model with Program or Be Programmed). But after that, Radical Animal will only be available digitally in a DRM format, and through the emerging platforms - Kindle, iBook, Nook, etc.
I've priced the "Real-World" consults (ones that involve me moving around in space and time, across the UK, US and EU, burning up carbon) quite expensively. And the Skype-chat/webinar option quite cheaply (presuming it's a much less resource intensive exercise).
My usual consulting business has a whole different rate structure (talk to me!) - but this is all a grand experiment, specifically aimed at making the book-net viable and possible. I have limited the amounts of these perks numerically, on a reasonable assessment of how much time I'll be able to spend on them over the next 12 months.
HOW ELSE CAN YOU HELP US?
If you want to help RADICAL ANIMAL get off the ground, and you think friends and colleagues might be interested in supporting it, please use all the "Share Tools" at the top of this page - including links to Facebook and Twitter. You'll find them underneath the graphic at the top.
I'd also love to see you on the RADICAL ANIMAL site on Ning - there's lots of opportunities there to connect with others interested in the book-net, and upload videos, pictures and blogs. The site already has regular feeds from my research and presentations on this topic, and I'll be keeping people updated on how the book is going with videos, podcasts, and other media.
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THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION!
Writer / Network Manager