This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate
This is one of the most important books in LIFT.
It explains everything about what’s wrong with our world (well, almost!). It tells us about everything that is being done and that can be done to change the situation and save our future (well, almost!). If Naomi Klein had included any more topics the book would have been too heavy!
Don’t let that put you off. It may take a lot of time to read; maybe you’ll even skip some pages (I couldn’t!) But it will enlighten you with its detail, thoroughly backed by references, on so many important topics, revealed in everyday language with clarifying examples.
Not only does she explain how and why things have gone wrong with each aspect (climate change, fossil fuels’ dominance, free market fundamentalism, big business and greenwashing, misplaced dreams of technology, greedy exploitation of the planet and its people, to name a few) ; she also explains for each one the actions that have been taken and are being taken to remedy them. She doesn’t just leave that till a chapter at the end, as many writers do.
I’ll quote one section from her Introduction. After detailing the huge rise in global emissions since 2009 (a surge of 5.9% in 2010 – the largest absolute increase since the Industrial Revolution), she writes: “So my mind keeps coming back to the question: what is wrong with us? What is really preventing us from putting out the fire that is threatening to burn down our collective house? “I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would 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.”
One LIFT member has pointed out that she has not explained the rising tide of alternative money systems that could reduce the power of those controlling many of the problems. A good point. Maybe that will be her next book?
And more from her Conclusion: “..from here on, when we take, we must not only give back, but we must also take care.” “Fundamentally, the task is to articulate not just an alternative set of policy proposals but an alternative worldview to rival the one at the heart of the ecological crisis – embedded in interdependence rather than hyper-individualism, reciprocity rather than dominance, and cooperation rather than hierarchy. “It is slowly dawning on a great many of us that no one is going to step in and fix this crisis; that if change is going to take place it will only be because leadership bubbled up from below. “We are also significantly less isolated than many of us were even a decade ago: the new structures built in the rubble of neoliberalism – everything from social media to worker co-ops to farmer’s markets to neighbourhood sharing banks – have helped us to find community despite the fragmentation of postmodern life.” This book is inspiring!