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"When your heart speaks, take good notes."
- Judith Campbell

Book Review by Ellen Dee Davidson PDF Print E-mail
 A Book Review By Ellen Dee Davidson


By Naomi Klein

It’s so important in these times that we maintain a positive vision and do not lose hope.  In This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, journalist and activist Naomi Klein manages  both to fearlessly explore the facts of our changing climate and to offer hope based on solutions that are actually happening right now. 

She shares the scientific facts: if we and many other species are to survive, the climate cannot warm beyond 2-4 degrees Celsius. This means that most of the oil, coal, and gas in the ground must remain there.  That is in direct opposition to the goal of oil companies whose primary purpose is to continue making big profits.  So, as Naomi brilliantly points out, we are in a situation where it really is a choice between the old capitalistic model of extracting maximum resources for maximum profit versus maintaining a climate hospitable to life on Earth.  Fortunately, she is not the only one to realize this.  In an effort to protect water, land, air, wildlife, and homes, unlikely alliances of diverse groups of people are coming together.  The best part is that these flexible groups, without borders or nations, known as “Blockadia,” have been winning environmental battles around the world!

Indigenous land use rights have been a key factor in many of these successes.  Since Native Americans were given the rights to protect their water and other resources, there has been a legal way to stop some of the most environmentally threatening projects.  Of course, historically marginalized and oppressed native people do not have the resources to take on the big corporations alone.  Fortunately, indigenous people, environmentalists, scientists, housewives, students, grandmothers, ranchers, and all sorts of concerned people have been coming together to help in scientific and nonscientific ways like funding and legal help.  Klein states,

The Nez Perce were the ones who were ultimately able to stop the big rigs on Highway 12 in Idaho and Montana; the Northern Cheyenne continue to be the biggest barrier to coal development in southeastern Montana; the Lummi present the greatest legal obstacle to the construction of the biggest proposed coal export terminal in the Pacific Northwest; the Elsipogtog First Nation managed to substantially interfere with seismic testing for fracking in New Brunswick; and so on.

All of us can take heart from these triumphs.  When we allow ourselves to really take in and metabolize our successes, the model of the possible grows, affording us the energy we need to rise to the enormous challenges of climate change.  As always, I offer my prayer, “May we the people of Earth come together and find ways to live sustainably in peace, health and harmony.”

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