This Changes Everything–new book by Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein. Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Despite a serious omission (see below), I recommend this highly.  Watch the inspiring book trailer here.  Klein is objective, compassionate, a solid reporter and researcher, and one of our best commentators on politics. Anyone wanting a current overview of what’s happening worldwide about climate change will find here a thorough investigation and explanation, along with a consistently upbeat view of how the frightening current situation could be turned around. Time is very short if we are to keep global warming below 2 degrees C., but people are coming to understand that our leaders are not leading; grassroots groups are rising up around the world to stop extractive projects (fracking, mining, pipelines). I learned a great deal, which would have taken me countless hours to research on my own, on such subjects as Indigenous rights movements and their importance, civil disobedience actions around the world, geoengineering proposals, and much more.

One critical factor was omitted entirely: the impact of livestock agriculture, which contributes more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions. (I hope Klein will watch the new documentary “Cowspiracy.”)  If we are to stay below that 2 degree global temperature increase, we must actively encourage the reduction (ideally, elimination) of meat, dairy and egg consumption. Besides its general relevance, this topic would also fit into Klein’s concern, in her chapter on Regeneration, about species damaged by fossil fuel pollution whose young either cannot develop after conception or once born/hatched, cannot thrive. This large-scale loss of animal life is happening not only with wildlife but with, for example, chickens. There are not thousands or millions, but billions of newly hatched male chicks in the egg industry that are killed by being ground up alive. But even if we look only at wild animals, the livestock industry is responsible for the deaths of many millions of them by gobbling up land and water resources on which wild animals depend, by pesticide use on the vast fields used to grow livestock feed, and by outright trapping or poisoning of coyotes, wolves and other supposed predators of cattle and sheep.

The only position Klein took that surprised me was her statement that IVF and other assisted reproduction procedures should be covered by public health insurance. It seems to me that in the face of out-of-control overpopulation, we should be discouraging–not encouraging–reproduction.

Overall, though, Klein’s latest is an impressive achievement. I hope it is widely and carefully read, and that it will encourage the kind of climate activism we so desperately need.

One thought on “This Changes Everything–new book by Naomi Klein”

  1. That was omitted because Klein can’t imagine not eating meat; that’s not a live option for her. And obviously she doesn’t think it is a live option for the world. But just wait until hamburger costs 25 dollars a pound! Baked potatoes are looking better all the time! LOL

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