Climate Changes Everything

“… Global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient, and barrier-free that ‘earth-human systems’ are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When a journalist pressed [Brad] Werner for a clear answer on the ‘Is Earth f**ked’ question, he set the jargon aside and replied, ‘More or less.’ — From Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything

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Photo: Naomi Klein,

Most people – and scientists – believe that the climate change we’re experiencing is man-made. (There are the inevitable deniers, of course.) However, it’s going to take more than just believing and changing a few lightbulbs to reduce the erosion of the ice caps and rising ocean levels, or degree increases in average temperatures and extensive drought conditions. It’s going to take massive change in the way we live and respond to the environment. And that’s going to require sacrifice; not what anyone wants to hear let alone politicians want to say anything about.

There is hope. Democracy Now reports that a fossil fuel free world is possible. “Is a 100% renewable energy future possible? According to Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, the answer is yes. Jacobson has developed plans for all 50 states to transform their power infrastructure to rely on wind, water and solar power.”

In Naomi Klein’s most recent book This Changes Everything, she outlines the road we’re heading down with our capitalist system profiting from climate disasters and our politicians helping them along their merry way. It’s not a pretty picture. Tune into TVSet’s June 7 show (Comcast Channel 11 at 6 p.m. in Portland, Oregon) to learn more. It’s the topic of the show this week. A free and legal download of the book can be found on

The ray of hope exists for counteracting capitalism’s assault on the Earth’s resources, our consumption-hungry lifestyle, and the resulting impact on global climate change. It comes down to this, according to Brad Werner, University of California, San Diego professor of geophysics and complex systems (as noted in the last chapter of This Changes Everything): Environmental direct action, resistance, and a mass uprising of people will provide the likeliest source of friction to slow down the economic machine.

Voices and communities are crying out against fracking. There is a growing movement to divest from fossil fuels. In parts of the world, there is a green energy revolution and 100 percent renewable energy-driven economies are viable (sadly, without the political will demonstrated by Europe, the U.S. lags far behind).

Ms. Klein makes it clear: “Only mass social movements can save us now. If that happens, well, it changes everything.”

Can We the People, force a radical, transformational economic shift in a relatively peaceful, democratic manner, when our leaders have abdicated their responsibilities? This is what Ms. Klein asks.

Disruptive human rights movements have been led by the People and fought by legal and cultural battles. But transformational, disruptive economic change with a necessary redistribution of wealth? That’s another matter altogether with little, if any, precedence.

Ms. Klein surmises that climate change is an opportunity to galvanize and converge all the latent liberation social movements, albeit on a scale previously unimagined. But the lives of our grandchildren and the Earth depends upon our will to become activists, to raise our voices, mend our ways, and to vote with our dollars.

How much land area does it take to support your lifestyle? Take this quiz from Global Footprint Network to find out your Ecological Footprint, discover your biggest areas of resource consumption, and learn what you can do to tread more lightly on the earth.

Let’s be the catalyst!


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