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About Naomi Klein This Changes Everything Capitalism Vs. The Climate Pdf
Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.
In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein, author of the global bestsellers Shock Doctrine and No Logo, exposes the myths that are clouding climate debate.
You have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. You have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it—it just requires breaking every rule in the ‘free-market’ playbook. You have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge. In fact, all around the world, the fight back is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring.
It’s about changing the world, before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe. Either we leap—or we sink. This Changes Everything is a book that will redefine our era.
Naomi’s Klein’s This Changes Everything is absolutely essential for understanding, confronting, and meeting the challenges of the 21st century. I recommend it to everyone.
Naomi Klein is known for her activism and her reporting on corporate malfeasance – the misused power of corporations, and the deleterious effects of unfettered global free-market western-style capitalism unchained from any conceivable governance that might restrict profitability. Profits first, above all else. Protect shareholder interests, increase shareholder wealth.
With this, her newest book, This Changes Everything, she turns to the consequences that this unrestricted capitalism is having on the world at large. Deregulated and globalized capitalism, which destroys the middle classes across the world, destabilizes societies, increases inequality, and enriches the already fantastically wealthy, is ultimately threatening a lot more than people and communities. Our globalized capitalistic system now threatens the stability and resilience of the natural world, our environment, of which we are intrinsically and inseparably a part. After speaking about her own reluctance to face the facts about climate change, a reticence to confront the reality of climate change and global warming and focus on social issues, she decided a few years ago that she must confront it and learn about it. I agree, these issues are too important to be left to so-called “environmentalists”, “hippies”, “tree-huggers” and such. We must now all become environmentalists.
Klein first shows what really is happening across the world today, as we strive to feed the god of economic growth and disregard the ugly sights of its victims:
“… the regular people: the workers who lose their factory jobs in Juárez and Windsor, the workers who get the factory jobs in Shenzen and Dhaka, jobs that are by this point so degraded that some employers install nets along the perimeters of roofs to catch employees when they jump, or where safety codes are so lax that workers are killed in the hundreds when buildings collapse. The victims are also the toddlers mouthing lead-laden toys; the Walmart employee expected to work over the Thanksgiving holiday only to be trampled by a stampede of frenzied customers, while still not earning a living wage. And the Chinese villages whose water is contaminated by one of those coal plants we use as our excuse for inaction, as well as the middle class of Beijing and Shanghai whose kids are forced to play inside because the air is so foul.”
Her conclusion is startling:
… the bottom line is what matters here: our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, it it’s not the laws of nature.”
The philosophy and the worldview that got us here began with the European scientific revolution, a revolution of thought which changed humankind’s relation to the natural world. For all that the scientific revolution has done, vastly increasing the life chances of billions of people across the past few centuries, changing our very civilization and reshaping our societies in the span of just a few generations, the scientific worldview also estranged us from the natural world, by placing us outside of it, as the impartial observer, which can meddle with the world – yet not be affected by it. The steam engine allowed for power generation anywhere it went, regardless of weather, in rain and sun, regardless of its surroundings. This engine, and its progeny, changed the world – in fact, built the modern world. But the whole time, these engines of the modern world were powered by fossil fuels. Fuels that are non-renewable, energy intensive, require extraction from the ground by way of the coal and oil and natural gas industry. And they expel carbon dioxide and other gases and pollutants into the atmosphere.
For hundreds of years, “extractivism” has treated our natural world as a vast warehouse that we can take from indefinitely. We view lakes and forests and oceans as “resources” – a phrase that belies the economic nature of our view of them. Our lakes and forests really just “resources”, like bank accounts and wallets, to be withdrawn from? This cannot continue indefinitely, and our methods of extraction have gotten continually more costly, destructive, and noxious. The figures on fracking alone are horrifying, including the pumping of millions of gallons of water and over 190+ toxic chemicals 8,000 feet underground in order to fracture solid rock and have it expel natural gas. Whole mountain chains, along with their flora and fauna are absolutely annihilated, to extract coal, shale, and natural gas. Most insultingly, the flora and fauna, the forests and animals, are labeled “overburden” to the fracking companies. The results on human populations are also ugly: “mothers living in the areas with the most natural gas development were 30 percent more likely to have babies with congenital heart defects than those who lived in areas with no gas wells near their home. They also found some evidence that high levels of maternal exposure to gas extraction increased the risks of neurological defects.” (to learn more about fracking, see Gasland
The oil, natural gas, mining and logging companies, multinational in nature, have expeditions on every continent. If they are stopped in one country, they can resort to free trade treaties and plead that restrictions on mining is against free trade. And they simply go elsewhere, to where the locals are too poor to organize, or too poor to refuse the influx of temporary money and mining jobs, or to where they can buy off the governments.
A number of solutions are put forward, along with significant victories across the world. Looking to the annual reports of the oil companies, if what they call “proven reserves” are actually utilized, the total emissions from those reserves is many times more than what environmental experts concede will increase the world’s temperature by over 4º Celsius. That increase will have devastating consequences for many millions across the world, as the oceans rise and acidify, as global temperature increases and climate is more severe – with more severe draughts and flood, more severe storms, massive disruption to many ecosystems and climates. And these companies have in their official statements that they intend to extract from these reserves, so we know exactly what they intend to do, and we know what the consequences will be if they are not stopped. It’s as simple as that.
We need renewal energy, wind and solar, and we need them now. Natural gas is just as polluting as coal – in fact, it may be more polluting. But there is resistance to change from the ways we already know. And to climate deniers, all these fancy, new-fangled wind turbines and solar panels are too threatening, they are not as sturdy as a good old internal combustion engine. And as Klein points out, letting go of our power to generate energy to the vagaries of nature, to sunlight and wind, is against our worldview and modern, scientific-minded outlook, where humankind is the “master” of nature, to direct as we choose. Real men burn coal.
What about geoengineering? Klein addresses this also, devoting a whole chapter to it (‘Dimming the Sun’). I’ll leave it to the reader to explore, merely noting that the worldview which made humankind the ruler of the natural world is the same worldview which thinks that it can engineer whole planets with grand schemes like space-based shields to block out the sun, or by disbursing particulates in the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays back out of the atmosphere. Do we really want to play around with this technology, and in lieu of renewable energy like solar and wind?
Aren’t the emissions trading schemes going to solve this problem? The various emissions trading schemes, where countries establish limits for their emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and then domestic companies are allotted specific limits, and can buy and sell them amongst each other, or get offsets by conducting emissions-mitigating activity, are widespread. However, there are multiple loopholes and unaccounted emissions. For example, ships on the high seas, which put massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, are not emissions that any one particular country is responsible for. Their emissions simply are not under the rules. Other loopholes exist, such as getting credit for reducing emissions from refraining from activity that was illegal anyway, such as illegal but cheaper “flaring” of gas chimneys at mines in Nigeria. As Klein puts it “With emissions up by about 57% since the U.N. Climate convention was signed in 1992, the failure of this polite strategy is beyond debate.” The sad tale of trading in pollution ultimately reflects the flawed view that market-based solutions are the only politically-feasible method of tackling emissions.
In conclusion, this book is timely, crucial, and to be welcomed as a refocusing of our attentions and priorities. There are many across the world who already are laboring thanklessly to prevent further destruction of our environment, but those with other priorities, and who live removed from nature, can easily forget what is happening. Klein writes:
“The deep sense of interdependence with the natural world that animates rural struggles from Greece to coastal British Columbia is, of course, rather less obvious in the densely populated cities where so many of us live and work: where our reliance on nature is well hidden by highways, pipes, electrical lines, and overstocked supermarkets.”
The epiphany is that rather than being masters of the Earth, to engineer our world and extract every last drop of “resources” for our profit, we are the Earth’s stewards (at best), and we live inside its systems. Where do we go from here? First realize that we are “products of our age and of a dominant ideological project. One that too often has taught us to see ourselves as little more than singular, gratification-seeking units, out to maximize our narrow advantage…” If we focus solely on ourselves, we will never see the threat which endangers us all. Once alerted to this threat, we need to work to say “No” to extractavist policies, “No” to investment in fossil industries, and “Yes” to renewable energies.
What do you want to do with your life? Do you want to amass toys and capital for your personal enjoyment while the Earth itself is warped beyond habitability? Or, do you want to take part with people across the globe with similar outlooks and through similar efforts to make a sustainable future for us all? I am very inspired by this book and I cannot wait for others to read it and react to it. In all honesty, I intend to alter my actions and take part in activism to combat climate change.
About This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate Author
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, documentary filmmaker and author of the international bestsellers No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. She is a senior correspondent for The Intercept and her writing appears widely in such publications as The New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian and The Nation, where she is a contributing editor. Klein is a member of the board of directors for climate-action group 350.org and one of the organizers behind Canada’s Leap Manifesto. In November 2016 she was awarded Australia’s prestigious Sydney Peace Prize for, according to the prize jury, “inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to demand a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality.” Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages.