I’m finally getting to Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, on how climate action can be a vehicle for building better social and economic systems. From the intro:
What concerns me less is the mechanics of the transition–the shift from brown to green energy, from sole-rider cars to mass transit, from sprawling exurbs to dense and walkable cities–than the power and ideological roadblocks that have so far prevented any of these long understood solutions from taking hold on anything close to the scale required.
It seems to me that our problem is has a lot less to do with the mechanics of solar power than the politics of human power–specifically whether there can be a shift in who wields it, a shift away from corporations and toward communities, which in turn depends on whether or not the great many people who are getting a rotten deal under our current system can build a determined and diverse enough social force to change the balance of power. I have come to understand, over the course of researching this book, that the shift will require rethinking the very nature of humanity’s power–our right to extract ever more without facing consequences, our capacity to bend complex natural systems to our will. This is a shift that challenges not only capitalism, but also the building blocks of materialism that preceded modern capitalism, a mentality that some call ‘extractivism.’
Because, underneath all of this is the real truth we have been avoiding: climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to health care and taxes. It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message–spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions–telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.