In an event organized this month by UK-based COIN (Climate Outreach and Information Network), Naomi Klein speaks about the ideas articulated in her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate. Klein is introduced by fashion designer and climate activist Dame Vivienne Westwood and begins speaking at the 15 minute mark of the video. If you, like me, haven’t yet read her book, this video is a good synopsis.
I’m on a (low-carbon) holiday for the next while, with little access to a computer, so please accept my apologies for delayed responses or posting of comments. All should be back to normal the last week of March. In the meantime, I scoured my files for some photos and graphics to post while I’m away. Enjoy!
Naomi Klein was out in the shattered neighbourhood of Rockaway Park Queens last weekend, participating in the Occupy relief efforts there. In this interview she underscores the importance of both increasing local resilience as a response to our changing climate and addressing the fossil fuel industry’s business model directly. As 350.org’s Do The Math campaign makes clear, the fossil fuel industry’s business plan will destroy the planet. Bill McKibben reminded the “Do The Math”audience in Seattle this month that the global warming math is quite simple: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2 degrees of warming. Anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, 5Xs the safe amount. And they are planning to burn it all, unless we rise up & stop them.
Also on the ground in Rockaway, “Power Rockaways Resilience is working to rebuild homes with power that will be prepared for future natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. “Not only will these homes be safer against these disasters, but they can be more sustainable and greener.” Read more.
North America, in case you haven’t turned on a computer, television, or radio this past week, is remembering the terror attacks on the twin towers, and the Pentagon, ten years ago tomorrow. Gerald Kaplan wrote in yesterday’s Globe and Mail:
Of the million stories that reflect the world since that moment, here’s the one I find most revealing. As a direct result of toiling in the ruins of the twin towers, many New York firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers became seriously ill, some terminally. These “first responders” have been lauded to the hills for their heroism, often in the most cringe-worthy manner by craven political opportunists. Saints, they were, saints, my dears, and we’ll never ever forget their sacrifices.
Late last year, the American government proposed a bill to provide funding to aid these damaged saints. A no-brainer, eh? Not in post-9/11 America. In fact the Republican members of Congress united to oppose such funding unless the tax cuts George Bush had gifted to the top 2 per cent of Americans were extended. Only when they were shamed publicly by Jon Stewart did the Republicans finally relent. But fear not. They of course won those continuing gifts to the filthy rich when President Barack Obama caved on raising America’s credit limit.
Writ small, this is the history of the post-9/11 world in the United States, in Canada, in Britain, and wherever else business interests and conservative politicians have been able to have their way with us – us being the vast majority of the world’s population.
Naomi Klein’s revelatory book Shock Doctrine, Kaplan goes on, is an accurate description of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate much of the world through the exploitation of people and destabilized countries. He concludes that:
Osama bin Laden inflicted a terrible crime on the American people. America’s elites and their allies have done the rest.