This Changes Everything | Naomi Klein

non-fiction | climate emergency | politics | economics

First published 2014

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein lying on wooden floor

Naomi Klein's fourth book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, makes the very compelling and (in my view) logical argument that the climate crisis cannot be seriously addressed as long as we live in a society that puts profit, consumption and unregulated market growth above all else.

We have been told to believe the myth that the markets will save us from climate catastrophe, but, Klein disagrees. And so do I! Our addiction to growth and profit is what caused this crisis in the first place, and if we do nothing to stop it, we are heading quite quickly for the abyss. Governments, the fossil fuel corporations and lobby groups have been trying to convince us that it is impossible to become independent of their dirty fuels, but the scientists disagree; we know exactly how to do it. But it means breaking away from the free-market by reining in the power of corporations, rebuilding local economies and taking back our democracies.

All over the world, people are doing amazing things, fighting to save the planet we call home. But is it enough to make our governments and the corporations behind them, sit up and take notice? Is it enough to make them change their business models and policies to make the world cleaner and safer for everyone? 

My Verdict: This book was written almost 10 years ago, and with the current forest fires, floods and other extreme weather events happening right now in Europe, Africa and North America, it's hard to read it with any sense of optimism. Personally, I think it's too late. We didn't act in time and now the heatwaves, fires, floods, water and food shortages are just some of the things we're going to have to live with on a regular basis from now on. Our governments have truly passed the buck to us regular citizens, and we can eat less meat, fly less, ride our bikes and use less plastic all we want, but if the corporations fracking the Tar Sands, or building new coal mines don't stop what they're doing, our efforts are meaningless. This was our chance to come together and do something that would benefit everyone, but just like with the Covid Pandemic, that's not the way humans actually work, and now we're doomed.

Naomi Klein has been one of my heroes since No Logo came out in 1999. The Shock Doctrine is one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read, and this book, This Changes Everything is probably one of the most difficult books I've read in a very long time. Having read it almost 10 years after it was first published, I have the "good fortune" to see and know that many of the solutions that Klein advocates for have simply never happened. That the great global movement where everyone came together to help protect thes rights and lands of indigenous people, move away from fossil fuels and create a more locally based economic model was never even seriously considered by most governments. I feel like all hope is lost when it comes to trying to stop the climate emergency, and it makes me very sad and very scared.

Review Award | 5/5

Posted 02.08.2023

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