books, sustainability
Comments 22

This changes everything

Naomi Klein is a pretty cool lady. She is a Canadian writer and activist, and every seven years she releases a book that becomes the defining talking point of the time and creates waves of social awakening. In her 2000 book No Logo she investigates the dark side of global unfettered capitalism and how we are all walking billboards for mega-corporations now, unable to separate ourselves from the products we buy. Combined with rising inequality worldwide and a second depression looming on the horizon, capitalism will eventually cannibalize itself when workers no longer can afford to buy the products they are making for scraps and pennies.

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In 2007, Klein coined the term ‘disaster capitalism’ and released The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. The book retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman’s free market economic revolution. In contrast to the popular myth of this movement’s peaceful global victory, Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies in so many parts of the world from Latin America and Eastern Europe to South Africa, Russia, and Iraq. naomi-klein-quote3It’s the same old disheartening tale of superpowers; create a conflict, then bomb for peace and in the chaotic after-match among a traumatized and displaced population more concerned with survival than anything else, the superpowers swoop in to privatize the sovereign nation’s natural resources and banks for multinational corporations. This is not a new thought, per se, but with Klein’s book the concept went mainstream and all of a sudden it was a little bit easier to understand the world we found ourselves in during the first decade of the new millennium.

And this week Klein released her third blockbuster This Changes Everything. She is talking, of course, of climate change. It is the natural conclusion of all her previous talking points. What I like about Naomi Klein’s long books (500+ pages!) is that she is always going for the ‘why’. Just documenting what happened historically isn’t enough, she wants to understand the motives behind it, in this case, rampant capitalism that places profit over all else. She puts decisions into historical context that is so often forgotten today (hindsight is 20/20, remember?) Klein also understands that climate change and global inequality go hand in hand, and her solution in this book is that if we fix climate change and remove ourselves from a fossil fuel economy in favor of an economy based on de-centralized renewable energies, we also solve the inequality crisis that is threatening to wipe us all out before the environment does.

Watch part of her interview on Democracy Now today:

And I hope you will take part in the world’s largest mobilization for climate this weekend! Marches and rallies will be held all over the world. Find yours here.

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22 Comments

  1. I don’t know why every time several words are simply left out in my post, Sorry again. Maybe you could moderate and delete the other posts?
    After you visited mine I took a look at your blog, too. Many truly remarkable posts…
    >>remove ourselves from a fossil fuel economy in favor of an economy based on de-centralized renewable energiesde-centralized<<.

    If we are not careful we go from giving our money to oil companies to making BlackRock, the biggest financial empire in the world, even richer and more powerful – and thus further global inequality. It invests (among other things like Monsanto or arms manufacturer – everything that means profit) heavily in palm oil which is not only used in more than half of all consumer goods, but also as "renewable" energy source in cars and power plants in Europe – despite its disastrously impact on the climate (even more disastrous than fossil fuel).

    • Hi! Thank you for the input :) I don’t know why WordPress is acting up but I will remove those other posts. Thanks for stopping by and keep up the good work!

  2. Laura Kihlström says

    How did you find the book in the end? I enjoyed reading it and admire Klein’s investigative style.

    Still I noticed that after putting the book down I wasn’t sure what the main message was that was supposed to come through. I remember there was a lot of critique about ‘green’ organizations. That part was new to me. But overall, I am not sure if the book will be appealing to somebody new – is it preaching to the choir? What do you think?

  3. Great post! Love your passion. Also, we’d never heard of Naomi Klein so it’s great t hear of more determined people attempting to raise awareness on sustainability. Do you believe this concept can translate to the fashion industry? We believe with greater education and obviously more voices out there, this is a very real possibility. Keep up the good work.

    • I think it could transfer to the fashion industry, at some point it has to because we can’t keep producing tons and tons of cheap fabric waste each year to fill up landfills. I think the key is to take the garment industry almost 100 years back in time – where the focus was on quality, craftsmanship and durability. Most clothing today is way too cheap so we don’t perceive it as having much value. Today we spend less than 5% of our annual income on dozens of pieces of low quality clothing, while back in the 1930, average people could spend as much as 25% of their income on a few items and then maintain them for years to come because there simply was no other option. I think in the future we have to find a balance between the two. Find a way to produce and buy high quality, fair trade clothing that will cost more but last longer, while making sure that the people who sew and create the clothes are able to live dignified lives and being paid fair wages.

      Thanks for the comment and interesting commentary! Good luck in your sustainability endeavors :)

  4. N. Klein is one gutsy lady, with a keen intellect thrown in. I am looking forward to reading her newest book. I have read a lot about the greatest wealth transfer in history that is going on now, impoverishing and de-tooling the middle class of their energy to stay involved politically, but pretty much only by male writers….thanks for reminding me of Naomi, she is a breath of fresh air and right on the money (pun intended).

  5. I’m looking forward to reading this! Naomi does much of her writing in the community I live in, and I was fortunate enough to see her speak a few years ago at a local writers’ festival. She’s a very bright woman who does an immense amount of research for her books, and her messages are definitely timely and important!

  6. lethally says

    Thanks for the link about Naomi Klein. I didn’t know she had a new book out and will check it out :)

  7. I respect, admire and believe Naomi Klein, but I wish Klein had chosen a better book title. In addition to being the same as the title of my first ebook in my sci-fi/romance/utopian “The Spanners Series,” TCE is also the title of an ultra-Christian gospel book/group AND TCE is used for tweets about anything anyone thinks is important. Overused. Sigh.

  8. svjohn says

    Yessss!!! Just exactly what I needed, no wait, absolutely had to hear thank you Joey you are a goddess! :*

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this, I will definitely be checking those books out and sharing this with all of my like-minded friends and family!

  10. I’m really looking forward to reading this. Naomi Klein makes me proud to be Canadian (unlike tar-sands-loving Prime Minister Stephen Harper…). Great post as always.

  11. I’ll have to check out these books. Thanks for sharing. I agree that our energy production should be democratized and be more local. This will help connect users to the energy they use and be more mindful of it. Doing so will also make the entire system more secure and reliable. More like nature would do things instead of how man thinks they should be done. This same biomimetic model can be used beyond just energy and sustainability but also social and economic models as well. Lots of food for thought.

  12. A tremendously important topic and great post. I will definitely have to get that new book! We need to awaken to a higher mind and a higher solution to these terrible problems we have created as a world.

    We’re so far off balance!

    Peace and light ~ Allison

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