This Changes Everything

Capitalism v. Climate Change

Just finished Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. It was a hard read, a difficult read. I had to take it, like medicine, a little at a time: read a bit, go and do something else, read a bit more. The reason for that was that Klein’s message, supported by her meticulous research, is horribly true: that the capitalism, the obsession with economic growth that has dominated our society – and much of the world – for hundreds of years, is what’s stopping us from doing anything meaningful about climate change. We need to find sustainable answers. We need to change the way we live, the way we think.

(Klein points out how the dominant economic players, those who are funding the climate change denialists, are precisely the people who know best what the solution is. And it’s a solution in which their power and their wealth evaporate instantly. If fossil fuels stay in the ground, as they have to, then for them it’s the end.)

The reason I couldn’t take much of the book at once was that I couldn’t see a way out, and it distressed me. I was in denial: not, of course, about climate change itself, but about the preposterous idea that there’s anything we can do about it. How can we change a world system, and how can we do it in the space of a few years?

This shows us one of the major obstacles: even those of us who readily acknowledge climate change, who know that if we don’t act there will be another global mass extinction, haven’t a clue what we can do about it.

Luckily, the closing chapters of This Changes Everything point to a possible future, based on activism, which just might save us. Have we the courage? Have you?

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