Klein’s books have been game-changers for me. No Logo, though long and winding at times, changed the way I viewed the world, particularly its public spaces. The Shock Doctrine re-framed the world for me, made me see patterns, discouraging patterns, in the way the world was unfolding. When I first learned that her new book, seemingly ostentatiously named This Changes Everything, was about climate change, I was concerned. Climate change, I thought to myself, will be too scientific for me to follow. Climate change was a topic that I (like Klein) had largely ignored, or at least considered too abstract for me. I wanted to understand it, but I couldn’t find my way in.
Once again, Klein came through for me. Though the book is, once again, long and winding in places (it seems that after all of her research that Klein can’t bear to leave anything out), Klein convinced me of the urgency of the need for a monumental response to climate change. The time for small steps and voluntary participation is over. And she realizes that it will take more than just additional efforts at regulations to restore our earth; it will take a whole new kind of economy, as well as a shift in our view of our relationship with the earth.
For a portion of the book, I thought Klein had overreached, that her call for a new kind of revolution (akin to the abolitionist movement in terms of scope and urgency) was too much hope for, and that consequently, we were doomed. But using research from all over the globe (rather than running to the computer after each reference, I start making lists of groups and movements to investigate), particularly efforts by Indigenous groups, Klein offers some hope. She shows countless examples of coalitions of the unlikely. If politics make strange bedfellows, fighting fracking* (for example) makes for surreal ones.
The most moving part of this book, though, comes not from stories of successes (though they are heartening), but the way Klein intertwines her own struggle to conceive a child as both a reflection of what we’re doing to the earth and our responsibilities to it. The section feels like a risk on her part, and she renders it in quite a moving way.
Another masterwork from Klein; another game-changer. It better be.
* I am pleased to see that this word still gets underlined in red by the computer program.