Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"This Changes Everything "deserves major attention

Naomi Klein has earned a reputation for tilting her lance at the establishment.  She attracts a lot of sympathy for her stands, although other people think she is naive.  Mostly the average person is unconcerned about her issues.  Bad mistake as she in my opinion is pretty good at pinpointing problems we all need to be concerned about.  Inequality, climate change, pollution, too much corporate power.

In "This Changes Everything" she sees climate change as an opportunity to change the establishment as well as a serious crisis demanding a global co-operative effort.  She discovers that some conservatives are more concerned about the threat to their idea of a free market.  They want no regulations or be forced to share their profits.  Some also feel insulated from the bad effects of climate change and others feel they can adjust.

They are right to fear that forces that want to protect the environment are dangerous to the status quo.  Naomi sees that wealth (and power) will have to be redistributed to solve the problems that affect all humanity.  One concern she has is to somehow deal with campaign finance laws that allow the wealthy to promote their interests at the expense of everyone else.

The need to harmonize with natural forces is given credence with a wide variety of examples of how vested interests have abused their power to maximize their wealth.  Technology in extracting energy and other natural resources may seem innovative, but to Naomi they seem like desperation from fossil fuel addicts.

Trade agreements work against local buying which is one strategy to reduce environmental stress. They represent the needs and wants or corporate interests at the expense of ordinary citizens.  Infinite growth is seen as the core of the free market.   Trade agreements often restrict renewable energy efforts in various ways

The Green movement has been infiltrated by fossil fuel interests.   She gives examples of Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and T Boone Pickens who have all used environmental rhetoric, but have according to Naomi perverted the claims.  They are interested in looking for replacements, but not in root causes.

Geo engineering is favored by many who do not want to change their life style.  Some have used volcanic activity as proof how we can cool down the earth, however Naomi points out they overlook the bad effects of the same volcanic activity.  Other schemes share a great risk of the unknown repercussions.

Time is changing.  Many of the older generation feel buying green and changing a few habits are all they can do.  Young people are more activist and do not rely on buying eco friendly products or donating to green causes as they get right out and protest specific projects.  They are being joined by others who are finding that as extraction and transportation projects spread they impinge on their life style and more importantly their health.

Indigenous groups, most of whom are a lot more attuned to nature have had their legal rights recognized.  White middle class environmentalists are realizing that combating entrenched corporations requires not just money, but legalities.  Aboriginal people are often trapped in their poverty and feel inadequate to use their full legal rights to protect their land.  Alliances are developing, but there are counter pressures.

"The Shock Doctrine" an earlier book which I bought tells how political ideologues impose their ideas on the masses when a catastrophe occurs.  Naomi is suggesting these opportunities can also allow changes from the grass roots up instead of the top down.   Social movements have been more successful in human rights than addressing economic issues, but there is hope (in need of organizing).  Slavery was abolished in Britain, but one of the prices was reparations to the slave owners.

During the writing of this book Naomi made a concentrated effort to become pregnant and finally succeeded to her goal of motherhood.  Along the way her awareness sharpened with regard to fertility.  Species do not necessarily become extinct because of killing, but often because of issues of fertility.  Researching the Gulf Oil Spill she realized the greatest damage was not to mature animals, but those at the embryonic stage.  Her research uncovered many connections between chemical pollution and infertility, birth defects and miscarriages.

The problem will not be solved by those at the top who have vested interests in the status quo, but can only be the result of resistance from the bottom.  Those whose wealth depends upon not finding a solution will have to be dealt with and they will not co-operate unless under great pressure.  A lot of angles are covered in "This Changes Everything" and it also attempts to explain the counter arguments which in all fairness are losing their credibility.  This book sums up the most serious concerns of our time very well--everyone should read it.

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