The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

This Changes Everything: A Review

It sure does.  Change everything, that is.  Naomi Klein’s latest book is aptly titled.  Climate change changes everything and everyone.  No nation, no community, no individual is immune to the effects of climate change.  Even those who deny climate change are not immune.

The subtitle of the book is Capitalism vs the Climate – again apt.  it could just as easily have been Everything you always wanted to know about climate change.  Klein set herself a mammoth task in writing this book, and largely, she has succeeded.  She covers the science, the politics, the history, the roles of Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Green. 

She introduces us to the Heartland Institute of climate change deniers at their conference in Washington.  She takes us to indigenous communities in Canada, South America and the Ogoni living in the Niger Delta.

We get glimpses of the boardrooms of big companies such as Chevron, BP and Exxon Mobil.  We see the communities offering alternatives, from the solar project of the Cheyenne in South Dakota to the citizens of towns and cities in Germany taking back control over their power supply.

Klein has researched and written this book over a period of five years – and it shows.  It is thoroughly researched, meticulously documented and superbly written.

All of the history and science is fascinating, yet Klein’s major purpose in the book is to ask whether it is possible to escape from the brink of climate disaster.  Furthermore, is it possible, she asks, to do so “without challenging the fundamental logic of deregulated capitalism?”  Klein’s unambiguous, raw, answer is: “Not a chance.”

So, do we have a chance?  What chance do we have?  In answer to the first question, Klein is ambivalent.  “It’s not clear which side will win,” she states, but goes on to say “the companies in the crosshairs are up against more than they bargained for.”

That qualification begins to answer the second question – what chance do we have?

Reading the book through in sequence from page 1 to page 466 the reader moves from despair, to struggle, to perhaps and finally to possibility and a sense of regeneration.  For that regeneration to occur Klein advises that a number of things need to happen:

1.  We must stop consuming – now.  That means not simply replacing our stuff with green alternatives.  It means quitting the consumption obsession.

2.  We must connect with each other and with the earth.  Klein cites many examples of this happening throughout the world and suggests that climate change has been one of the catalysts for previously disparate groups learning to coexist and collaborate.

3.  We must ramp up the opposition to Big Coal, Big Oil and Big Technology.  Klein sees the emerging Blockadia movement as a hopeful example of this. 

(Coalitions and the Blockadia movement have left the NIMBY (Not IN MY Back Yard) isolationism behind and replaced it with Ni ici, ni ailleurs -  neither here, nor anywhere.  Climate change changes everything.)

4.  The most important thing that needs to happen, according to Klein, is that we must change our thinking, change our worldview, change our values.  We must choose policies “that don’t merely aim to change laws but change patterns of thought.”

5.  Finally, our faith and hope in our present top-down leadership must change.  We are going to have to become active in decision-making at local levels.  For Klein, “if change is to take place it will only be because leadership bubbled up from below.”

Naomi Klein is absolutely right:  This Changes Everything.

The book can be obtained from the link to the right of this post -labelled "Books Reviewed on this site"

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