In her exhaustive look at the world built with “colonialism, coal, and capitalism,” The Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein paints a situation as bleak as it is hopeful. However we respond to climate change, the upheaval is altering all facts of life on the planet; given that This Changes Everything (Simon & Schuster, $30), Klein argues that we can use the inevitable shift from fossil fuels to effect needed reforms, from sound labor practices to inclusive health care to social equality. Klein envisions popular, mass movements that foster sustainable agro-ecology measures, repurpose closed factories to meet the needs of the new climate change economy, and give priority to local initiatives over corporate profitability. She knows how complex such a comprehensive realignment is, and she doesn’t downplay the resistance of those who warn of another Great Depression where she sees the opportunity for a Great Transition. Klein examines alternatives to her model, touring fracking sites and the Alberta tar sands (her depiction of “Earth, skinned alive” is unforgettable), as well as various geo-engineering schemes. But coal and oil, like time, are rapidly running out; ultimately, Klein shows why we must stop the short-sighted practices that led us to this crisis and harness the urgency of the moment to devise new social and economic structures founded on a longer-term vision.
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