January Book Club: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

By Emily Clever

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate by Naomi Klein was on the EVG book club list for last year (yes, this is the 2nd blog about the book).  If you didn’t read it then you should read it NOW.  I don’t mean just read through it so you are done in time for the book club discussion, I mean thoroughly read it.  Take notes, write down questions, try to really absorb the information she is presenting.  It is A LOT of information, and it is extremely useful and powerful information.

There are two sections from Chapter 8 that I feel may be beneficial to begin thinking about BEFORE reading the book if you haven’t started it. Yes, I know it may seem weird, thinking about a part of the book before you have read it.  Lucky for you, I will tell you the sections I think are worth taking into account prior to reading the book.  The first section from Chapter 8 comes from a conference regarding geoengineering.  There were three questions written on a board during a discussion. I think these questions should be considered when thinking about how to address climate change.  The following questions related specifically to SRM (solar radiation management, it will be explained in that chapter) but should be applied/considered when discussing any type of action, solution, or remedy for climate change.  They are as follows:

  1. Is the human that gave us the climate crisis capable of properly/safely regulating SRM?
  2. In considering SRM regulation, are we not in danger of perpetuating the view that the earth can be manipulated in our interests?
  3. Don’t we have to engage with these questions before we place ourselves in the triangle?

Question 2 ties into the other section that I found to be very thought provoking (all of the book is, but this section really struck a chord with me).  It is the last paragraph on page 285.

“When we marvel at that blue marble in all its delicacy and frailty, and resolve to save the planet, we cast ourselves in a very specific role.  That role is of a parent, the parent of the earth.  But the opposite is the case.  It is we humans who are fragile and vulnerable and the earth that is hearty and powerful, and holds us in its hands.  In pragmatic terms, our challenge is less to save that earth from ourselves and more to save ourselves from an earth that, if pushed too far, has ample power to rock, burn, and shake us off completely.  That knowledge should inform all we do – especially the decision about whether to gamble on geoengineering.”

Unless we blow the planet up like the Death Star, it will be here long after we have gone. Our efforts to save the earth are really about trying to save ourselves.

Please join the discussion January 24 at 7pm at the River Action office, 822 E River Dr, Davenport. 

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