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576 pages, Hardcover
First published September 16, 2014
"… the regular people: the workers who lose their factory jobs in Juárez and Windsor, the workers who get the factory jobs in Shenzen and Dhaka, jobs that are by this point so degraded that some employers install nets along the perimeters of roofs to catch employees when they jump, or where safety codes are so lax that workers are killed in the hundreds when buildings collapse. The victims are also the toddlers mouthing lead-laden toys; the Walmart employee expected to work over the Thanksgiving holiday only to be trampled by a stampede of frenzied customers, while still not earning a living wage. And the Chinese villages whose water is contaminated by one of those coal plants we use as our excuse for inaction, as well as the middle class of Beijing and Shanghai whose kids are forced to play inside because the air is so foul.”
… the bottom line is what matters here: our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, it it’s not the laws of nature.”
“The deep sense of interdependence with the natural world that animates rural struggles from Greece to coastal British Columbia is, of course, rather less obvious in the densely populated cities where so many of us live and work: where our reliance on nature is well hidden by highways, pipes, electrical lines, and overstocked supermarkets."
“have become the authors of the laws under which they operate…In fact, current trade and investment rules provide legal grounds for foreign corporations to fight virtually any attempt by governments to restrict the exploitation of fossil fuels, particularly once a carbon deposit has attracted investment and extraction has begun. And when the aim of the investment is explicitly to export the oil, gas, and coal and sell it on the world market—as is increasingly the case—successful campaigns to block those exports could well be met with similar legal challenges, since imposing ‘quantitative restrictions’ on the free flow of goods across borders violates a fundamental tenet of trade law.”
”many non-Native people are starting to realize that Indigenous rights—if aggressively backed by court challenges, direct action, and mass movements demanding that they be respected—may now represent the most powerful barriers protecting all of us from a future of climate chaos.”This is about us. We have the power. Politicians and corporations just make the ride more comfortable or less. One could argue that they are not responsible for changing the world—we are. So…it is time to take action and put in place the kind of leadership we seek. Diverse constituencies must come together to make transformative change.
“To fail to [confront an imminent and unavoidable climate emergency]—which is what we are collectively doing—knowing full well that eventually the failure could force government to rationalize ‘risking’ turning whole nations, even subcontinents, into sacrifice zones, is a decision our children may judge as humanity’s single most immoral act.”
At every stage our actions are marked by a lack of respect for the powers we are unleashing – a certainty, or at least a hope, that the nature we have turned to garbage, and the people we have treated like garbage, will not come back to haunt usThis book is a brick, a great heavy block with which you can shatter screens of lies and greenwash. Nine months after reading it, I still remember parts of it so well that I'm reviewing without properly rereading, so please accept my apologies for my bodgy job (and hold the jokes about gestation please), but I will reread at some point not just to refresh my memory but as therapy for burn out and political despair. It starts off with the bad news – so devastatingly sad I sobbed for all of us everywhere, humans and non-humans, all but doomed to a future of environmental devastation, so much so that a stranger (but fellow northener) gave up her seat on the tube for me 'you look like you need this more than I do, love'. The next day I was chuckling under my breath and punching the air with a suppressed 'Yes!' for the victories of Blockadia and PEOPLE POWER generally against extractivist corporations and their scary supporters in state power.
The only people who will be truly empowered to say no to dirty development over the long term are people who see real, hopeful alternatives.Again, cllimate change is political. After discussing 'the power of keeping our word' Klein turns to 'the power of paying our debts' – how rich nations must help others to improve the lives of their populations through green development, not through burning fossil fuels. And by 'help', what's meant here is meaningful economic assistance. Aid paid for by taxpayers isn't the source Klein has in mind, rather, the corporations extracting from poor countries and funnelling the riches to global elites should pay up, governments should stop subsidising fossil fuels (for real, I mean, why the hell is that happening?!) and pay for tech transfer instead and so on.