The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.
In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.
In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.
Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.
Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.
"The most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring.” -- Rob Nixon ― The New York Times Book Review
"This is the best book about climate change in a very long time—in large part because it's about much more. It sets the most important crisis in human history in the context of our other ongoing traumas, reminding us just how much the powers-that-be depend on the power of coal, gas and oil. And that in turn should give us hope, because it means the fight for a just world is the same as the fight for a livable one." -- Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and co-founder of 350.org
“This Changes Everything is the work book for . . . [a] new, more assertive, more powerful environmental movement.” -- Mark Bittman
"Naomi Klein applies her fine, fierce, and meticulous mind to the greatest, most urgent questions of our times. . . . I count her among the most inspirational political thinkers in the world today." -- Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things and Capitalism: A Ghost Story
“Naomi Klein is a genius. She has done for politics what Jared Diamond did for the study of human history. She skillfully blends politics, economics and history and distills out simple and powerful truths with universal applicability.” -- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
“[A]robust new polemic. . . . Drawing on an impressive volume of research, Ms. Klein savages the idea that we will be saved by new technologies or by an incremental shift away from fossil fuels: Both approaches, she argues, are forms of denial. . . . Ms. Klein is aware of the intractability of the problems she describes, but she manages optimism nonetheless.” -- Nathaniel Rich ― The New York Times
"Klein is a brave and passionate writer who always deserves to be heard, and this is a powerful and urgent book." -- John Gray ― The Observer (UK)
“If global warming is a worldwide wake-up call, we’re all pretty heavy sleepers. . . . We haven't made significant progress, Klein argues, because we've been expecting solutions from the very same institutions that created the problem in the first place. . . . Klein's sharp analysis makes a compelling case that a mass awakening is part of the answer.” -- Chris Bentley ― The Chicago Tribune
“Gripping and dramatic. . . . [Klein] writes of a decisive battle for the fate of the earth in which we either take back control of the planet from the capitalists who are destroying it or watch it all burn.” -- Roy Scranton ― Rolling Stone
“Naomi Klein’s latest book may be the manifesto that the climate movement — and the planet — needs right now. . . . For those with whom her message does resonate — and they are likely to be legion — her book could help catalyze the kind of mass movement she argues the world needs now.” -- Mason Inman ― San Francisco Chronicle
“Powerfully and uncompromisingly written, the impassioned polemic we have come to expect from Klein, mixing first-hand accounts of events around the world and withering political analysis. . . . Her stirring vision is nothing less than a political, economic, social, cultural and moral make-over of the human world.” -- Mike Hulme ― New Scientist
“A powerful, profound, and compelling book.” -- Matthew Rothschild ― The Progressive
“Klein is one of the left’s most influential figures and a prominent climate champion. . . . [She] is a gifted writer and there is little doubt about the problem she identifies.” -- Pilita Clark ― The Financial Times
About the Author
We need more than Anti-Capitalism ...Eco-Economics
I have been really impressed by some of Klein's previous writings. However, this book is too obsessed with demonizing Capitalism without recognizing human behavior as an actor. In a footnote she makes overpopulation a moral right of the helpless poor, not even recognizing the sexist oppression that is part of the culture of overpopulation The struggle against human class division and a focus on social justice are very important political issues but they may be used to ignore our part in the mass extinction and mistreatment of species. The Anthropocene continues regardless of our political righteousness.I am shocked by the people who find Klein's prattle to be so meaningful, and timely. Global warming has been an understood science since the 1960s. While the extremist global warming deniers have been made to be a political force by the fossil fuel industry, the greater problem comes from the tragedy-of-the-commons. Almost no one wants to make the sacrifices needed. Blaming Capitalism won't help.I hope that Naomi Klein discovers Ecological Economics and brings it to her readers. Ecological Economics may have shades of Capitalism in it. But beauty is in the eve of the beholder, we can redefine capitalism. I would have given this book one star but I actually don't want to piss-off other environmentalists. We need to proceed with maximum speed. Capitalism need not be a monolith, it can be a transitional tool. But define what you want. We get to define the future. Reading a book or articles on Ecological Economics would be much more productive than this book.
Needs To Be Updated For The Trump Era
While I agree with everything Naomi Klein has written, as I'm reading I'm wishing that she would have waited a few years to write this book. In light of the regressive policy record of the current administration on all aspects of the economy, the climate and the environment, I believe the crisis is now even worse than Ms. Klein portrayed back in 2014. With many of the major players of Wall Street, Big Fuel, Big Ag, and Big Pharma having been recruited into the Trump administration I just cannot see anything but darker days ahead for this country and, by extension, the rest of the world. Our EPA has now become the "Environmental Plundering Agency", and the Dept. of the Interior might just as well be called the "Dept. of the Ulterior (motives)". I truly believe that if the criminal occupying the White House wins a second term, our planet is doomed. Nothing short of a miracle would pull this world back from the destruction brought on by another four years of these parasites.
Important book, but things have gotten worse since publication.
Things have gotten worse since this book was written. Our capitalist system, referred to neo-capitalism, just isn't doing the job. Instead, we find fossil fuel interests steering us to ineffective non-solutions such as cap-and-trade or such gems as Methane is a transition fuel. And if we get past that, we find the WTO outright blocking action. The latter part of the book is more upbeat and talks about small actions taken against fossil fuel interests. All of this is discussed in the book. It is well written and researched, and a must-read for anyone trying to save our planet and the life (including our own) on it.
This may well be one of the most important books ...
This may well be one of the most important books of the decade. It may also be one of the most depressing. It is informationally (is that a word?) very dense -- very dense. I have written computer models for the past twenty years and know a bit about their limitations, and about their value. Though this book is disturbing, I think it gives a fair assessment of the research regarding climate change and global warming.
Capitalism in the gunsights
Naomi Klein does not mince words as she shows how our lives of wealth and grasping for more wealth is contributing to climate change. She insists that our capitalism must change in order to slow global warming. She has good suggestions for how this might be done. But it will annoy those who love their air conditioning and cars and air travel. It is not an easy read, but we need to pay attention.
If you care about your children read this book and act upon what you learn.
This book makes very clear that we are facing a planetary disaster and have to fix this problem ASAP. There are many steps to take but if enough of us support this effort we will succeed, and in so doing make the planet much more livable for all of us. The powers that be want to deny that humans have anything to do with the problem. They are typically interested in preserving their own wealth and power. But it is crystal clear from scientific evidence that human activity associated with fossil fuels has created the problem. If we act now we can replace fossil fuels with environmentally safe renewable sources of energy, which will also create many jobs and redistribute wealth in a more equitable way. If we fail to act soon we will not be able to stop the heating up of our planet and the results will be horrendous.
A call to action!
This book not only explains the what of the current carbon-climate problem, it explains the why, including why it is proving so difficult to make the transition to renewable energy. And while it fully delves the downside of our current trajectory and the vested interests that keep us there, Klein ends up making a strong case for optimism in the midst of adversity. Its an optimism that is rooted in the belief of widespread grassroots activism as an antidote to unregulated capitalism, and as a means to restore the public commons.This book is a key discourse in the unfolding dialogue spurred by climate change, and a must-read for the escalating numbers that are adding their voice to this most vital conversation.
Well researched and interesting in places, but over-hyped, over-long and unbalanced
I'm sympathetic to the message Naomi Klein is putting across in this book - that action is needed on climate change that goes beyond pinning our hopes on a technological fix being found. I was hoping to come away from reading it able to cite compelling approaches to tackling the issue. But the book largely rehashes the same old solutions that the Left has been putting forward for years. That is fine, but my issue is with the opaque style they are presented in. For a start, the book is extremely long-winded (467 pages excluding end notes), repetitive in places, and with unnecessary diversions all over the place making it hard to follow a clear train of thought and tedious to read. The gimmicky chapter headings don't help. A more concise telling of the impressive research that's clearly gone into the book would have been much more impactful and compelling.Sadly, I doubt this book is going to change any minds. The evidence backing up claims is patchy. Some segments are well referenced, but others are more rant-like and unbalanced.The best this book can hope to achieve is to reignite the fire in the belly of those who already agree with its premise. Though even that is a push. It's so tedious to read I'm resenting it for stealing an enormous amount of time to extract the gems inside it.The book is a classic victim of over-hype. I find it difficult to believe that all those giving it a five star review have read more than a couple of chapters. My advice would be to save yourself a disappoint and look for a video where Naomi sets out her key points instead.
Excellent where it sets its sights, but lacks scope
Wherever Naomi Klein sets her sights, a wealth of information and progressive principles are revealed. Most notably, this is a book about the detrimental impacts of the extractivist ideology that comes as a package deal with the kind of deregulated free-market systems that Klein slams throughout the book.However, my main gripe with the book, and it's quite a big one, is that it completely skirts over the environmental impact of farming livestock. Considering that the farming of livestock leads to the consumption of an estimated 70% of all the worlds farmed land and, as such, a huge amount of water (15 k litres to every kg of beef), and considering the fact that an estimated 91% of all deforestation that has occurred thus far has occurred due to the need to clear land to house and feed livestock, I'd say that this was a monumental error on Klein's behalf. Had the rest of the text not been so thorough in its exposition, I would have rated this as 3 stars. I don't know if this was wilful or accidental ignorance, either way it's the major shortcoming of the book.
Socialism dressed up as environmentalism
Naomi Klein came at this topic with a default left-wing agenda and every piece of the climate change puzzle, conveniently and miraculously, feeds her existing world view. Couldn't get more than 20% of the way through it without - like a Marxist searching for evidence of class war - knowing every piece of evidence would be seen through the dominant paradigm. It's really a shame because the facts about climate change - thin as they are in the book, unlike the politics - are extremely serious and there isn't any significant action being taken. And the corrupting influence of corporate lobbyists and right win g groups is seriously in the way. Would like the author to at least have pretended to have been objective searcher for truth. Shame I bought the kindle version or I could've given it away to the socialist party benevolent fund for unemployed media studies graduates.
Overall, a success
Before I review this, let me be clear, my political persuasion is most probably left of centre and I absolutely believe in climate change. In addition, I try and live my life in a way which reduces the impact of my carbon foot and I am reasonably passionate about climate change. Overall, I thought this was a fascinating book and Klein does well to lay out the arguments here and there was a lot I learnt or there was a lot to enhance my understanding. This includes the level of corruption within governments and so called green organisations, the level of profit and power these companies hold and the new fuels that are escalating the pollution and climate warming. I think i also learnt quite a bit why those of a more right wing nature adds so scared of climate change being real and why everyone who doesn't agree with the right is a 'leftie'. Finally the second to last chapter gave me some hope (if not much) for the future. However, there were some things that rankled with me a bit. Most of Klein's solutions to all this is to move towards an extreme left wing mantra: stop privatisation, give the power back to governments, start up more co-op etc, to the point that sometimes I wondered whether the tail was wagging the dog rather than the other way round. Also, this will just put those right wing believers right off. In addition, this book isn't capitalism vs the climate ; it is the energy companies vs the climate and there is a difference. Klein doesn't even touch upon farming (particularly the consumption of animals) or the other top pollutants (individuals who have children or pets which is always the elephant in the room). Overall though this.was informative and interesting.
Already outdated, long-winded left wing rant.
This book just focuses on the evils of capitalism and seems to use climate change as a vehicle to justify its anger towards the system.I work in the power industry and have a keen interest in climate change and what we can do to bring our emissions down. I'm all for the rise of renewable energy and reducing CO2 through nuclear expansion and carbon capture.Very little scientific analysis of evidence or discussion of technological methods in which we may turn the corner. From the outset the author has made up her mind that the only answer is full scale economic meltdown and it's hell bend blinkered view that lets the book down.