The Climate Crisis: An Opportunity??

The Climate Crisis: An Opportunity??

The climate crisis may represent a “historic opportunity” to change the world for the better.
That is the assertion made by Naomi Klein in her recent book:
This Changes Everything
(Simon & Schuster, $30, 566 pages).

In her book, she writes:

 Forget everything you think you know about Global Warming.  The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism.  The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.

She calls the climate crisis “the most profound threat humanity has ever faced:  the war our economic model is waging against life on earth.”  Also, she says, “We have been told the market will save us when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day.  We have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels, when in fact we know exactly how to do it—it just requires breaking every rule in the ‘free market’ playbook:  reining in corporate power, rebuilding local economies and reclaiming our democracies.”

She also reports:  Ohio State University climatologist Lonnie G. Thompson, a world-renowned specialist on glacier melt says “…..virtually all of us (climatologists) are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.”

As reprinted in The Nation magazine, Naomi writes:

It could be the best argument progressives ever hand to demand the rebuilding and reviving of local economics; to block harmful free trade deals and rewrite old ones; to invest in starving public infrastructure like mass transit and affordable housing; to take back ownership of essential services like energy and water; to remake our sick agricultural system into something much healthier; to open borders to migrants whose displacement is linked to climate impacts; to finally respect indigenous land rights – all of which would help to end grotesque levels of inequality within our nations and between them.

She cites our current brand of capitalism as the cause:

 We have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism.  We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best change of averting catastrophe…are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economic, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.

While many of us call ourselves environmentalists and do our part by shopping at the farmers’ market, using mass transit, driving a Prius, and taking only a 3-minute shower, Klein says that we need to “actually change the systems that are making the crisis inevitable because “that’s too much ‘bad energy’ and it will never work.”

Where is her hope?  She applaudes the work of the divestment movement, the resistance to new mining projects and to high-risk extreme extraction. She cites protests in the town of Greece, a forest in Canada, and a village in Romania.  She sees these responses to the climate crisis as interconnected acts, which can yet save the planet.