Capitalism vs the Climate

What you see, you can’t unsee.

I am similarly finding that what you read, you can’t unread. As you might know, if you know me, I have been recently obsessing over Naomi Klein’s new book This changes everything. Having begun my revolutionary tendencies after reading an earlier book  of hers, No Logo, while at university, it made sense to polish up my knowledge on the environment by reading her latest.

This book is a beautifully articulated, incredibly well-documented, slap in the face wake-up call about climate change. 

Naomi Klein discusses at length all of the various aspects of how the world got to where it is – the industrial revolution, politics, capitalism, globalisation et al. She investigates how all of the issues are interlinked with not only the climate, but also inequality and poverty. Perhaps more interestingly, she also looks at the ingrained ideologies that allowed the human race to keep the blinkers on while we set about destroying the planet and crippling parts of society with increasing speed and efficiency. She then analyses past instances where the power of the people has been able to change political (and financial) persuasion – abolishment of slavery, civil rights movement, women’s liberation, to name just a couple – and throws out some compelling solutions, or steps towards them, that make so much more sense than anything else I am currently hearing.

But…what now?

I have finished inhaling all of the blood curling facts and statistics, stories of visits to man-ravaged landscapes and insightful proposals of alternative pathways, but I am now posed with the confronting question of how I can use this knowledge to move forward. I find myself looking around, wherever I am, thinking We’ve got it so wrong… I can’t help but relate conversations happening around me to the pressing need to change things before it’s too late. It feels like we’re all walking around blind to what reading this book has now made glaringly obvious.

All of this can seem quite rich from someone who is currently gallivanting around the world and probably flying way too much to claim to have an actual interest in reducing fossil fuel consumption, I get that and there’s not much I can say in my defence, but I really feel as though this book has changed the path of my future. Whether that is in what type of employment I chose from here on in, how much of an activist I manage to become, or simply the sinking thought of Damn, I knew this was coming, flying through my head as a giant hurricane hits me – this is yet to be seen, and I very much doubt it would be only the latter. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be more conscious of my day to day actions and the more this all gets talked about with the people we meet, the more curiosity is spiked, the more awareness spreads.

Read it.

At the base of it, as much as the content of the book has made me feel desperately helpless, it has also brought some rays of hope, however meek they may seem to me at the moment.  It is my firm recommendation that, if you are reading this, you should immediately go and read This changes everything. The more people learn about the reality of what is going on and what we can do to improve our chances of survival, well, the better. It’s quite a long read (coming in at around 550ish pages?), which combined with the depth and alarmingness of the content, makes it a bit of a challenge, but it might just be the best book I’ve ever read. So go on, hesitate no more and read it, then let me know what you think of it.


Image credits, left to right: South Pacific on Etsy, Manjua Waldia, justinvg, Adam Hale aka mr.splice


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