The Canadian author’s new book captures the spirit of the time.
As of late climate change discussions have caught fire with an endless flow of high-level speeches, mass protests and bold national commitments. Canadian author Naomi Klein’s new book, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, captures the spirit of the time. Importantly, the author goes beyond the hype and explores how we can change the rules of the game as such.
In her iconic style Klein weaves social unrest, environmental disasters and up-to-date climate science into one cogent case for action. Tapping into the discourse of climate emergency, Klein confidently states that it’s now or never when it comes to the need for action. What we need, she argues, is a new level of political dedication.
The book contains a series of articles, talks and other pieces that help the author make her case. Why haven’t we acted sufficiently till now? What will it take to change the course?
For Klein, the Green New Deal symbolizes the answer we need and it is not just about ambitious climate policies. Klein argues that a livable climate is fundamentally linked to creating a more equal society, ending the oppression of marginalized communities and transforming the economy from the ground up.
For her, Green New Deal is “an intersectional holistic response to multiple overlapping crises.” Klein wants to “tax the rich and filthy” to pay for climate mitigation efforts while creating a society founded on more than just economic growth. Climate action is not just about making (or saving) money, she argues; it is also about rediscovering our interdependence and nourishing humility towards nature.
Klein tackles a wide range of topics from Laudato si encyclical by Pope Francis to geoengineering. She sums up the book’s premise thus: “Our current moment is markedly different, and the reason for that is twofold: one part having to do with a mounting sense of peril, the other with a new and unfamiliar sense of promise”.
There are plenty of critics of Klein’s approach. They highlight the potential dangers of a perennial climate emergency, the green movement’s at times overly ambitious agendas (such as presidential candidate Bernie Sander’s $16.3 trillion climate plan), and her blasé disregard for the benefits of capitalism.
Still, her vision is in line with the voices of many others who care about the planet and its future. The world needs a new type of climate leadership and Klein’s new book might be one of the sources to help us figure out what it will take to lead the necessary change.