The Ethical Activist Book Group: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
Today’s post is this year’s second book from the Ethical Activist Book Club. You can find the reading list for 2017 here, and you can find the first review in this series here. Read along at your own pace, and add your thoughts to the conversation in the comments on each post at any time of the year.
If there is one thing that we learn from Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything it is that our current economic system has to change. If not, our civilisation will simply not survive. Capitalism, in it’s current form at least, is completely at odds with a sustainable existence, and the economic system as it stands does not require business and companies to pay for the damage that they cause to environment, the precious common resource that we all need in order to survive.
I have previously discussed Naomi’s important work in my article on 5 books that will inspire you to act. This is what I previously wrote:
When you start reading this book there is a good chance you will feel overwhelmed. Naomi Klein lays bare the cold hard facts about the state of the climate, and the trajectory that our economic system has us on. It makes for sobering reading. And if you don’t read the whole book, it could scare you even deeper into the quagmire of inaction. But keep reading. I promise it gets better. Not because the reality of climate change becomes any less worrying. But because you will be encouraged by the social and political movements that climate change is inspiring in communities across the globe. Farmers teaming up with Indigenous communities to fight mining projects. Grandmothers linking up with young activists to protect forests. Communities coming together to demand an economic system that takes care of people and planet.
If you want to know why we need action, this is the book to read. If you want to know how the world is taking action, this is also the book to read. Let yourself feel afraid about the future for a moment. Then let yourself feel encouraged that collectively we have it within us to change the world. But only if each and every one of us is brave enough to act. Let the reality of climate change be your reason and your inspiration to act.
Klein’s book does make for terrifying reading. If you are suffering from eco activist overwhelm and burnout, as I do from time to time, then you probably should give yourself a bit of time before you tackle this tome. But is an important read, and it is one that should be tackled when you have the emotional bandwidth to take it on.
It is perhaps even more important now that Trump is in the White House. However, Trump is far from the only problem when it comes to fighting climate change. Here in Australia, our own federal and state government (Queensland) are pushing for a new mega coal mine which would threaten any global attempts to keep warming below 2 degrees. Not to mention that the waste water and sedminent form the mine would directly threaten the Great Barrier Reef. Similarly, Justin Trudeau, the darling of progressive politics worldwide, is pursuing tar sands developments in Canada that would be a disaster for the climate. As Bill McKibben points out, we need to stop swooning over Justin Trudeau, the man is a disaster for the climate. It is very worrying indeed when progressive governments are failing to genuinely tackle climate change, and leave fossil fuels in the ground.
Whilst Klein deftly and comprehensively shows us that things are grim, the book does leave us with cause for hope. The final sections of the book are dedicated to the myriad of ways that people are banding together, often in unlikely partnerships, to fight for the environment. Bringing people together in localised actions, that are connected to a global movement, is the only way that we can defeat climate change. Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything gives us cause for hope. People are coming together to fight, and we are gaining in strength and momentum. It is my hope, and I believe it is Klein’s hope as well, that we can be encouraged, emboldened and resolute in our fight. It is going to be a long and difficult road. But I believe that we, as a species, have the strength, tenacity and courage to win out over greed and destruction in the end.
Thanks for being a part of this fight.
What about you? How did you feel about the book? Leave your thoughts in the comment below.2