Tuesday, September 16, 2014 |
An existential crisis for the human species, a clear and present danger to civilization, a death sentence for the planet, a weapon of mass destruction: these are just some of the phrases you will find in Naomi Klein's new book, This Changes Everything. The book is a wake-up call about the state of the environment. Klein argues that nothing else matters - war, pestilence, disease, economic collapse - if we don't have clean air to breathe and water to drink.
Klein was on both CBC TV's The National and CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition to discuss the crisis we are currently facing. You can watch her interview with Wendy Mesley in the player above, and listen to her conversation with Michael Enright in the audio player below:
Klein says capitalism, in its current "very brutal" form, "is fundamentally at odds with what we need to do to respond to climate change." The solutions that exist within this economic framework are simply not enough to create the kind of shift we need to save the environment. "We can't just respond through individual shopping decisions. We have to respond through bold collective action."
Klein believes this push for collective action towards a seismic economic shift must come from the people. It won't come from the government. All three federal political parties support an oil pipeline in some fashion. The Harper government is "doubling down on one of the dirtiest fossil fuels in the world" with their support of the oil sands, she said. As a result, Canada's emissions are 27 per cent higher than the goals we set when we signed the Kyoto protocol - which is why Canada backed out of the deal. "As with many countries, it's simply too profitable to go the other route," Klein said.
Klein knows that encouraging people to speak up and demand change will create conflict, but she thinks it's time that we, as a society, had a real conversation about climate change. We need to do more than use reusable shopping bags and compost, she argues. "Let's dig deep and let's have a debate about what values we want to govern our society," Klein said.
This is already happening in many communities. People are campaigning to have their universities and churches remove their financial investments from fossil fuel holdings. Climate marches are taking place all over the world. Klein hopes this is the beginning of something big. And she believes it needs to be just that - big-time change.
"This business model is fundamentally at war with life on earth," she said. "It's time for another approach."