This changes everything : capitalism vs. the climate

by Naomi Klein

Paper Book, 2015


The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core "free market" ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems. In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option. In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn't just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It's an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geo-engineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not-and cannot-fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism. Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift-a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now. Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.… (more)



Call number



New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
It's a great, six-syllable haiku of a title, with valences for days: This book will change everything, buy it (canny marketing from the consumer theorist of No Logo)! Climate change is a sociopolitical, historic, indeed geological event so massive that it must definitively shift our agenda as
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progressives (the political shock par excellence from the writer of The Shock Doctrine)! But deeper still, beneath the consumer capitalism and the neoliberal, crisis capitalism that she's already taken apart, this book marks Klein's decisive, performative repudiation of capitalism per se, the retreat to the Earth--our first home, our last redoubt--and the message page after page that our economic system as such, not merely in its more exotic and virulent tendencies, has been waging a war now revealed as not merely against the poor, or indigenous peoples, or the decent society, but against life itself.

Capitalism already changed everything, in other words--it's the first and only source of the "this" of the title, the warming climate, the existential threat to us all. But naming capitalism (I get 18,200 google hits for "Capitalocene," by the way) and not humanity as the enemy, Klein affirms, can change everything again: give us a platform to rally and make the fundamental socioeconomic shift that most people either gave up on long ago when they put away impractical childish things (in what other realm do people hold as dogma the decisions they made when they were fifteen, or nineteen, or twenty-six, except "socialism works in theory but not in the real world"--and how can they not reevaluate when what passes for hard-headed pragmatism in the "real world" is literally destroying the planet???) or kept glowing in heart while slowly coming to terms with the thought that we'd never see it in practice (one of the things I've struggled with especially since the birth of my son is that an activist life, working to make a difference, may have been a lot more possible than I understood it to be as a younger man, and even if it might still be possible--?--I've made it more difficult with my life choices).

That is to say, just as the climate crisis is playing out in ways so totally imbricated with capitalism's sins of the past and present--colonialism (and the hard road of sorting out who gets to emit and who pays in the present), indigenous genocide (and the potential for still-not-forgotten indigenous earthways and not-totally-extinguished land title to serve as a base from which to organize and fight back--Earth as redoubt again), precarity (and people's distraction by the hard work of survival and the insidious colonization of their brains from what they could have been, the majesty that still lies dormant within), extractivism (need I say more)--the unprecedented nature of this threat and the changes we need to make to face it make it potentially a chance to fix everything. Every social injustice. If you accept that it's our economic system that's causing the damage, then how can you not see this potential?

I'd like next to read the "Leap Manifesto" issued by Klein and others up here in Canada, and intended to push things forward: I've seen a lot of debate on the level of stereotype--"small is beautiful" little-earthers versus geoengineering crackpots (Klein disposes of these influential weirdos, similar in so many of their assumptions to Friedmanite economists, very effectively)--but from what I can see, Klein at least here is proposing something a lot more nuanced, as well as advanced/complex--a stewardship that doesn't lapse into environmental Luddism, takes full advantage of the fruits of our science, but also doesn't propose, you know, blocking out the sun. Seems reasonable. I'd like to read the LM first because it's a document for practical action, as this is not; second because although the constellation of concepts Klein nudges into alignment here is a unified, streamlined, accessible theory, there's not really a lot new about it, and even sadly failed idealists like oneself won't need to spend much time going over the basics of "the world is warming," "the tar sands are fucked," etc.; and third because given that old-ground feeling to much of this, it remains an unnecessarily big lump and hard to digest--it took me a year and a half to read, which is pretty much unprecedented (I like to get through things), and that's partly down to content (chapters that had a strong, specific central idea, like the one on indigenous resistance or the geoengineering one aforementioned, read like well-put-together features in Harper's; others, like the (several) ones on how "people have the power," meander and fizzle) and partly to Klein's writing style (octopus sentences cramming in every kind of irrelevant allusion and adjective, overstuffing one sentence to avoid two, doing it in the name of travelling light and achieving just the opposite. Ugly like my writing but also without its whimsy, which I hope helps? No?). So that-all enervates this necessarily populist project quite a lot. And so I guess I'm now looking to the Leap Manifesto to provide the slim, focused statement of values and absolutely concrete plan for action that is not, in any usable way, present here.
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LibraryThing member 2wonderY
A very important book!
LibraryThing member MaggieFlo
I decided I should read something by Naomi Klein because of the Canadian NDP leadership review and her involvement with the LEAP manifesto. The manifesto provides a way forward for changing how society deals with climate change through radical alterations to our economic structure. I see a lot of
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the manifesto in this book. Klein believes, rightly so, that capitalism from the time of the industrial revolution is at the root of climate change. Until big corporations are forced to pay for the impacts of their activities on the environment, there will be no change. Communities are struggling with these realities as corporations provide employment so this becomes jobs vs the environment argument
Some of the chapters are really interesting.
She skewers Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines. In 2007 he has an epiphany through Al Gore's influence and promised to fund $3 billion on research to find a solution for climate change. Of course, other priorities got in his way including, cheaper fracked gas which allows him to expand his airlines....
Klein seems almost optimistic when discussing the success of some blockading movements by local citizens to stop extraction practices all around the globe, in Greece, Nigeria, Ecuador, Alberta, etc. Companies have been reacting by bringing in police and military to block protesters...communities are having some success vs developments which will have a negative impact on water, air and land vs development. No one trusts the corporate story anymore.
Is there media having is having an impact. most corporations care only about shareholders and the bottom line. They need to realize that it's smarter to pay for CO2 reductions now than disaster recoveries down the road.
This is a long book, it's very thought provoking and well researched. I found it a little extreme in its portrayals but I agree with a lot of her premises. We really need to find solutions or we are doomed.
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LibraryThing member bness2
This needs to be red by anyone seriously concerned about climate change. The first part of the book is a bit discouraging, but the solutions proposed and some of the environmental triumphs that have happened are heartening. One notable thing made abundantly clear in this book, and I concur, is that
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capitalism, as currently being implemented, is incompatible with solving out climate problems. It remains to be wehther the changes neded will occur in time.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
I am divided about my review on this book. In many ways, this bestseller has done a great job of informing people about how serious the climate crisis has become and the urgency of taking action NOW if we want to preserve the earth. Her expose about the energy companies and climate deniers is
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excellent and hopefully more groups will jump on the bandwagon of seeing that global warming is caused by humans and not a natural occurrence and people will put pressure on groups to divest themselves of investments in dirty energy. Those are the parts of the book that I loved. What I didn’t like is that Ms. Klein seems to feel that there is only one way to solve the problem. To her, the source of the problem is Capitalism and we need to revolt and overthrow Capitalism. She even encourages that the next major Hurricane Sandy should be a rallying cry for major political change. She may be right. But she also demonizes the energy companies saying what they are doing is destroying the earth and even goes so far as to slam billionaires like Bill Gates and Richard Branson, who in their own way are trying to find solutions to the climate crisis – Gates through his initiative to use nuclear energy to extract carbon from the atmosphere and Branson by offering a huge monetary prize for innovative solutions to global warming but still produces carbon emissions with his Virgin airline fleet. My gripe with this book is that there are a lot of people who are causing this problem … including us. We all need to take action and do our part to help out. Yes, this might not be the revolutionary answer that Ms. Klein is looking for, but we all need to consume less, drive less, and vote for the little initiatives that make a tiny bit of difference. Not all of us are going to be the political activist she wants us to be. But we can make a difference in our own way. My other gripe is that she does not mention not eating meat (since food production is one of the biggest contributors to our carbon footprint) or the the issue of overpopulation. Both of those are too big to ignore. Not sure why she didn’t bring these up – maybe she eats meat and she does spend a large portion of the book talking about infertility and trying to have a child. Anyway, I hope people read this book and do take action, whether it’s making small changes or politically advocating for a change.
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LibraryThing member the.ken.petersen
For me, this is Klein's weakest book. That may not be fair, because America certainly has its fair share of climate change deniers and they could do with reading this book: of course, they won't. Surely, the people buying this title are going to be, mostly converted, or at the very least, open to
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the prospect that climate change is a reality. There is little within these pages that adds to my knowledge of what is happening to our world.

Anybody who lived through the spectacle of cigarette manufacturers denying the lethal nature of their products, buying off scientists, producing dubious reports and ignoring the deaths of the people whilst happily pocketing their healthy profits, can hardly be surprised that, when faced with the inconvenient prospect of having to adjust their lucrative businesses, the fat cats fight back. Linguistic laxity can be exploited when science calls climate change a theory allowing ignorant, or wilfully unaware deniers to come up with alternative 'theories'. (If you're not aware, when science refers to something as a theory, it does not mean an idea plucked from the air, but the best explanation of events based upon current information). Science can prove Pythagoras and Fermat's theorem, but global warming is a demonstrable fact to which man's actions are the most likely cause. When 97% of scientists agree, then you'd better take matters seriously.

I have awarded this book three stars because, although it did little for me, and I suspect that few in Europe need its basic persuasion that climate change is a reality, I accept that our Transatlantic cousins still need convincing. It should feel good that the old country is ahead of the new world for once but, this is too important an issue for competition: come on America, catch up with reality!
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LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
The Title says it all. There are a several popular ideas: 1) to deny that Climate change is happening, and do nothing, 2) To say that the change is natural and we can't do anything about it, and thus do nothing. 3) and to say that cap and trade is a strategy that will stop the problem, and proceed
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with that as the only strategy, 4) that geoengineering, the process of very large mechanical and chemical countermeasures, could provide adequate countermeasures. To say that the world can weather this crisis by using any or all of these plans, and the world of unregulated capitalism will continue after that, is a dream. Naomi Klein has seriously investigated all of those and has come to the conclusion that the only real way forward is to start by imposing serious carbon taxes, and then or at the same time to make sure that the eighty percent of the world's remaining oil reserves stay in the ground. The crisis is upon us, and the next three year period is scarcely enough time to place enough wind and solar technology to help us avoid not the world of +2 degrees Celsius, but the world of +3 degrees Celsius which is the most likely best outcome of action starting now.
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LibraryThing member justine28
If I was to describe this book with just one sentence, I’d say it’s about what is exactly wrong with our world. It’s a book about how our economy and the constant pressure for growth and for more power and more money affects not only the climate change movement, but also our daily lives and
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rights. Klein did a really great job with research and the book reads really easily. At the same time it took me a while to go through it as it was quite eye-opening and made me re-consider certain things like e.g. the free trade agreements that make our lives so much easier (or do they?). Great read, very worthy and important topic, altogether a highly recommended book.
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LibraryThing member willszal
This book is a conversation starter. It’s the kind of information that should be common knowledge, and common conversation, but isn’t. It’s inconclusive, because its scope spans multiple paradigms.

For years I’ve been frustrated by the global warming conversation. What about Jevon’s
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paradox [that gains in efficiency lead to increased resource consumption]? What about our growth-based money system? What about social justice? What about friendship, community, and human maturation? What about permaculture and regenerative business?

For me, the global warming conversation has been based in a rational framework that fails to understand the complexity of natural systems. Global warming is a symptom, and its root causes are disparate.

As you might have guessed by now, only on the surface could you say this book is about global warming. It’s a history of the past fifty year of environmentalism. It’s a portrait of all kinds of resistance movements. It’s unblinking witness to the deep violence of civilization.

Global warming and its implication are so profound that none of us have a clue about how the next century will shake out. But just because we don’t have a detailed strategic plan is no reason not to start wading into this river right now. There are millions of first steps ready for the taking, and once we depart on this journey, our path will gain increasing clarity. It doesn’t all add up?

Examples of the things that should be common context but aren’t:
- Did you know that the Nature Conservancy killed off an endangered bird by drilling for oil?
- Did you know that Nigera’s slaughter hundreds of indigenous people in 1998 because they were asking for their treaties surrounding oil rights to be honored?

Klein ends the book with a personal story about her own struggles with fertility, and her shift to a holistic approach.
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LibraryThing member ShawIslandLibrary
This book needs to be treated like a textbook of the reference genre. It's main value lies in the immense accumulation of important facts concerning activism around climate change. Although it doesn't go so far as to document localized anarchist responses (shout out to the Parasol Climate
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Collective in Portland, OR), it does capture the importance of environmental activist and First Nation coalitions (such as we're seeing so brilliantly in the Pacific NW and in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock). As a reference book, it can be used to look up those Big Green groups that are undermining serious work on responding to climate change by their support of "fair trade deals" and Fossil Fuel corporations (i.e., "Greenwashing"). Finally, its overall message is clear and needs to be heard: we cannot avert climate change disaster under the current capitalist system, with its prioritization of growth and globalization of "free" market ideology. (Brian)
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LibraryThing member Sustainability_Trust
In her new book Naomi Klein gives us her critique on capitalism’s role in climate change. She argues that “we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because these things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism... We are stuck because the actions that would
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give us the best chance of averting catastrophe – and would benefit the vast majority – are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.”
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LibraryThing member gendeg
Naomi Klein’s running argument in This Changes Everything is that the climate crisis has come about as a result of a grand clash between capitalism and the planet. Klein supports the argument by showing how the political and corporate machinations work and exposing the deep pockets of rightwing
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special interest groups, think-tanks, and lobby groups. These groups inject bluster and doubt into the dialogue, even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, and they have the money to burn. Political will is weak (or bought, depending on how you look at it) and our response indecisive, ambiguous, or worse—couched in pledges and promises that are well-meaning but generally have no teeth (lack of enforcement mechanisms, accountability for missing targets; see the recent COP21 Paris agreement). Time will tell but if history is any measure of what might happen, then we can expect governments to back off their commitments when it comes to weighing economic concerns against environmental ones.

Klein takes a hard look at this recidivism and argues that this kind of marginalization of the environmental agenda is a built-in feature of our entire socio-economic system. She blames corporate elites for the stalemate; no surprise there. What Klein does throw into sharp relief is that the environmental optimists are also partly to blame, those of us who think that we can have our cake and eat it too, that a responsible, effective response to climate change can be anything but painful and difficult. To Klein, “The deniers get plenty of the details wrong… But when it comes to the scope and depth of change required to avert catastrophe, they are right on the money.”

So what can be done? In the last section of the book, Klein explores some of the ‘magical thinking’ that policymakers and technocrats will have to implement, like massive geoengineering projects to re-engineer rising ocean levels, atmospheric warming effects, and so on. The schemes are ambitious, large-scale, and pie-in-the-sky crazy. We probably won’t see them tried in our lifetimes, but our children will. To Klein these large-scale fixes are dangerous and naive; we simply don’t know enough about global weather systems to do these things safely.

Klein also talks about financial disinvestment in the kinds of corporate entities that exploit and destroy. But who will disinvest? Will the big banks stop financing the corporate activities? Hardly. She also advocates for more action at the local, grassroots level.

The main problem I have with the book is that I’m not sure I buy into putting all the blame on corporations. Yeah, a lot of corporations do shitty things for greed and profit, and they need to be held accountable for it. To me, though, this is the minor bogeyman for the environmental movement. Who is the true villain then? Look in the mirror.

Humans have been changing the planet long before these geopolitical systems were in place (Jared Diamond argues this in his books). Political philosophies aside, there is nothing inherently unique about capitalism being extractive or exploitive. It’s a nice fantasy for people on the left and progressives, but we often forget that the most reckless ecological practices were put into place by the centrally planned economies of the 20th century (see the USSR and Mao’s China). Another book taking a more science-based tact, The Sixth Extinction, argues that our very own species is the problem. We are the most invasive species that has every evolved and our ‘success’ has brought about ecological disaster for other forms of life on the planet. As hunter-gatherers, we were already wreaking havoc. The rise of agriculture was probably the point of no return.

What will it mean when there are 9 billion people on the planet? What will it mean when economies like India, Brazil, Indonesia, and other countries of robust population growth and economic aspirations want more? The U.S., Europe, even China can step on the brakes on pollution and degradation, but other countries won’t. One polluter gets replaced by another. Business as usual. Even as developed countries tighten environmental regulations it’s hard to feel optimistic. Rich countries often outsource biodiversity losses to the developing world by importing raw products such as palm oil grown in clear-cut rainforests (see the devastation this has wrought in Indonesia), and minerals and metals used in our electronic products. Poorer countries simply pay the price. The real clash is not capitalism vs. the planet but humans vs. finite resources.

What is clear about This Changes Everything is that Klein is ardent and earnest in her arguments. We all have skin in this game, every single human being. Whatever you might believe about climate change, what isn’t in doubt is that development as usual will fundamentally change our world. Any one who is concerned about the long-term survival of the planet and our species needs to read this book.

[Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher through the Goodreads First Reads Program in exchange for an honest review.]
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LibraryThing member lostinalibrary
“We are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are left to us.”

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Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything, she draws a very clear and unsettling picture of where we are headed if we continue to do nothing about climate change. She looks at many of the simplistic solutions put forward and why they fail including individual choices that ignore or deny the socioeconomic conditions that make these untenable for much of the third world. She also shows the hypocrisy of many of the arguments against action: that to do anything would be too expensive; that it’s pointless for the west to do anything if China and India aren’t on side; and the worst hypocrisy of all, it’s too late so what’s the point although this may become a self-fulfilling argument if we don’t change our fossil-fueled addicted ways ASAP.

She looks at past and present environmental movements: how many of the older movements were co-opted and what the new movements need to do. And she shows the importance of the Indigenous communities who are leading the climate justice movement and what we can learn from them:

"The movements against extreme energy extraction are becoming more than just battles against specific oil, gas, and coal companies and more, even than pro-democracy movements. They are opening up spaces for a historical reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-natives, who are finally understanding that, at a time when elected officials have open disdain for basic democratic principles, Indigenous rights are not a threat, but a tremendous gift.”

Her book is both unsettling and important. She has a clear, concise way of writing that makes the science and economics easy to understand. But she not only explains the problems, she gives solutions albeit very hard ones. She admits that, while doing researching for the book, the evidence of the devastation doing nothing will cause changed her. She came to the realization that we have left it too long for ‘centrist’ solutions:

“the things we must do to avoid catastrophic warming are no longer just in conflict with the particular strain of deregulated capitalism that triumphed in the 1980s. They are now in conflict with the fundamental imperative at the heart of our economic model: grow or die.”

This book may not change everything. There will, no doubt, be plenty of people saying she’s gone too far, that her solutions are too ‘radical’. There will still be lots of people that continue to deny the very fact of climate change including commentators on TV trying to prove its non-existence with a glass of water and an ice cube. That’s not likely to change. But, if the recent climate marches around the world are evidence of anything, it’s that there are hundreds of thousands of people who believe in the science of climate change and what it means to our futures and are no longer asking but demanding change. As Klein points out, climate change is a “civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message – spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions – telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet”. And this book makes it clear that we had better wake up soon
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LibraryThing member EmreSevinc
This is one of those books that should be conserved for our grandchildren or their children. They will look at this book and say either "good that we avoided the catastrophe, it was this close!", or "oh, so this is how we ended up in this mess".

The book manages to be very gloomy and full of hope at
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he same time. You realize how difficult it is to fight against the most powerful entities in the world and the industrial legacy of the last few hundred years, yet, Klein also shows how some loosely coupled, distributed resistance pops up in many different geographies.

The power of the book lies in masterfully demonstrating how politics, economy, our way of living, our style of taking so many things for granted, and climate science intersect in a unique period of history. It is a tour de force showing the reader different type of climate change skeptics, their funding channels, inter-group conflicts, as well as the historical tension between developed and developing countries, and difficulties in setting up policies that can efficiently work on a global scale.

It is of course not possible to talk about every aspect and detail of a topic as globally complex as climate change in a few hundred pages, but I consider Klein's attempt at this as the best introductory example that I can recommend to anyone about the possible futures awaiting our planet and our lives, as well as inspiration to be drawn from the native populations of North America, and grassroots resistance happening in Europe and elsewhere.
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LibraryThing member noellib
Before I read it, a friend referred to this book as "life-changing" - and it is, at least I hope it is for all who read it. It's also a very unsettling, daunting but ultimately inspiring read - like all the best manifestoes and calls for action. I regard myself as well-informed about the climate
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crisis facing us all, but most importantly, Naomi Klein reveals the extreme complexity and inter-relatedness of the forces, political, economic and pseudo-scientific - behind climate change denialism, and points to the disasters, already gathering force, if the climate-deniers are not kicked out of their positions of political and economic power. The global power of free-market capitalism is clearly the main block to achieving a just and equitable solution to this immense challenge, and this message will seem just too daunting or depressing to many . However, in drawing the many threads of her argument together in the last chapter, Naomi Klein points to huge social and political transformations that resulted from mass-mobilizations in the past - from the defeat of slavery, to universal suffrage, post-colonial independence, economic and social rights regulation arising from the depression and world war two, feminism and many others. It can happen again - and must.
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LibraryThing member RajivC
Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything” is an exceptional book. It is a deeply researched book. She is, evidently, committed to the cause of protecting our environment. If not, she would not have written a hard-hitting book like this one.
“This Changes Everything” is not an easy book to
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read. There is a lot of information! I will take time to process this. She has gone over much ground in the book and has also forced me to re-test my assessment of some well-known people. I am glad that she shattered some myths because we have a tendency to give divine status on people who we admire.
Naomi has covered many aspects of the battle for the earth, but her underlying theme is corporate greed. I am glad about this because it has exposed me to another aspect of climate change outside the science. I am always astonished by blind greed and ask myself the point of our education.
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LibraryThing member Dilip-Kumar
A grand analysis of the climate change scenario, nothing less than a "Silent Spring" for this century. The author traces the climate conundrum to the excesses of capitalist forces, and shows that the problem cannot be addressed unless communities wrest control of the way natural resources are used,
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especially the extraction of fossil carbon (coal, petroleum, gas), minerals, water, etc. She ends on a note of optimism, drawing connections between the struggles of the poor and dispossessed in western economies with the pushback by 20developing countries as a class. How reasonable this optimism has proved to be, can be tested by looking at the developments over the intervening years in the extractive sectors, and the progress of climate negotiations.
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LibraryThing member burritapal
I am sure the author is a carnist, because not once did she mention factory farming in this book about how capitalism is more important to capitalists than having our planet be livable past 2050. She goes into detail about all the things that pollute the planet, but strangely leaves out this huge
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cause of pollution and destroyer of rain forests. Loser, along with all the people living past 2025.
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LibraryThing member raschneid
This is an incredible book—not just the best book on climate change I've read, but one of the most important works of nonfiction, period.

If you're a person in this world and care about the welfare of other human beings and/or are planning on being alive for the next 30 years, you need to read
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this book. If you want the Cliff Notes, read some Bill McKibben first, but then you should probably still read this book.

I haven't read Klein before and was seriously impressed by the meticulousness of her research and clarity of her writing. She synthesizes an impressive amount of information about the science and politics of climate change. Whether or not you subscribe to her flavor of social justice-informed politics, she tells a very clear and powerful story of the mess we are in and the smokescreens that are obscuring the possible solutions. I feel much better equipped to think critically about the spectrum of arguments out there about the politics and logistics of climate change.

I'm afraid I'm pretty pessimistic about our ability to mitigate this disaster, although I am optimistic about the power of communities to weather the storm as best they can. It's possible that out of disaster will spring a climate justice revolution, as Klein predicts in her powerful conclusion, but I worry it will be as incomplete as the social revolutions that preceded it.

Still, I was rereading the first volume of The Lord of the Rings while I tackled this book, and if there was ever a narrative to inform our predicament, there it is (for all its valuation of war and kingship). And journeying into Mordor, against the wishes of powerful interests who tell us the system can save us, is in turn a bit like walking away from Omelas. It may be a fool's errand but it's the only ethical choice we've got.

In other words, if I happen to get arrested at an environmental protest in the next few years, you can blame Tolkien. :)
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LibraryThing member AJBraithwaite
I loved this book. It pulls together so many things that have been bothering me over the past ten years: climate change, social inequality, the industrialized food system and the historical injustices to colonized peoples. I wholeheartedly hope that the current crop of humans can mobilize to do
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something about our future on the planet, although there are so many causes for pessimism as governments and corporations continue to plug their ears to the bad news and "la la la" their way to continued resource depletion and fossil-fuel reliance.

I found the comparison with the abolition of the slave trade interesting - although that too is a little depressing, because it was the slave-owners, rather than their former slaves, who received economic compensation for the required changes. I just can't see anyone in a position of power agreeing to share resources with the rest of world to right the wrongs of the past three centuries.
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LibraryThing member therebelprince
Klein's best book.


LA Times Book Prize (Finalist — Science & Technology — 2014)
CBC Bookie Awards (Nominee — Non-fiction — 2015)
RBC Taylor Prize (Longlist — 2015)
Evergreen Award (Nominee — 2015)


Original publication date



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