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On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal

de Naomi Klein

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2045101,920 (4.04)3
"For more than twenty years, Naomi Klein has been the foremost chronicler of the economic war waged on both people and planet-and an unapologetic champion of a sweeping environmental agenda with justice at its center. In lucid, elegant dispatches from the frontlines of contemporary natural disaster, she pens surging, indispensable essays for a wide public: prescient advisories and dire warnings of what future awaits us if we refuse to act, as well as hopeful glimpses of a far better future. On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal gathers for the first time more than a decade of her impassioned writing, and pairs it with new material on the staggeringly high stakes of our immediate political and economic choices. These long-form essays show Klein at her most prophetic and philosophical, investigating the climate crisis not only as a profound political challenge but as a spiritual and imaginative one, as well. Delving into topics ranging from the clash between ecological time and our culture of "perpetual now," to the soaring history of humans changing and evolving rapidly in the face of grave threats, to rising white supremacy and fortressed borders as a form of "climate barbarism," this is a rousing call to action for a planet on the brink. With reports spanning from the ghostly Great Barrier Reef, to the annual smoke-choked skies of the Pacific Northwest, to post-hurricane Puerto Rico, to a Vatican attempting an unprecedented "ecological conversion," Klein makes the case that we will rise to the existential challenge of climate change only if we are willing to transform the systems that produced this crisis. An expansive, far-ranging exploration that sees the battle for a greener world as indistinguishable from the fight for our lives, On Fire captures the burning urgency of the climate crisis, as well as the fiery energy of a rising political movement demanding a catalytic Green New Deal"--… (més)
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Although I had heard good things about Naomi Klein I have not read any of her books although I'm sure I've read some of her articles published in various periodicals. So I did not know that she was married to Avi Lewis, son of "the indomitable Stephen Lewis" and grandson of David Lewis. With those impressive in-laws I suppose she had no choice but to become a cogent and passionate writer which shows in this book on climate change and the Green New Deal.

She introduces the book by talking about Greta Thunberg and the School Strike for Climate that Greta inspired. Virtually every climate change activist has been awestruck by Greta even if then President Trump wasn't so impressed with the "very happy young girl". In fact, the title of this book was inspired by Thunberg's speech to the World Economic Summit in Davos where she said "I want you to act as if your house is on fire, because it is."

The book includes a number of articles Klein wrote between 2010 and 2019 dealing with topics such as the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig, how capitalism fuels climate change, massive forest fires, and bleaching of coral reefs. Her articles are not just an account of everything that has gone wrong in the world; the subtitle of this book is "The Burning Case for a Green New Deal" so she devotes a lot of the book to how a Green New Deal would work and she uses the historical lesson of FDR's New Deal that brought the US out of the Great Depression. She sold me on it. I just wish every politician in the world was required to read this book and maybe they would move faster to achieve the goals most of them have signed on to.

Obviously this book was published before the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in full force which is sort of a shame because how governments have thrown money and resources at responding to the pandemic is just the sort of response we need to combat climate change. And then just this past weekend there was an article in The Guardian about Klein's newest book How to Change Everything geared to the YA market. It concluded with these words:
What the pandemic has changed, says Klein, is our understanding of how to respond to an emergency. When youth movements called for climate change to be treated as an emergency, governments responded with fine words but little urgency. “The big difference post-Covid is we now know what it means to treat an emergency like an emergency. We’ve all seen our governments do it. They can change things dramatically overnight. And that’s not something those of us born after the second world war had experienced. Our expectations and our ability to differentiate between just talk and actual change is heightened. And the pressure is going to be even greater on political leaders.”

Exactly! ( )
  gypsysmom | Mar 18, 2021 |
The thing that I admire most about Naomi Klein is that she writes incredibly clearly. One may agree, or disagree with her beliefs, but one is never in doubt as to what they are.

She puts the case for social change to be an essential part of the Green New Deal and, I get it, at last.

This book should be on everybody's read list - even better, were it to be on their 'I have read' list. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Aug 22, 2020 |
This series of chronologically organized essays, speeches, and articles written by Klein lay out her case for addressing climate change with radical solutions that address other systemic problems created by unrestrained capitalism and a carbon-based system. ( )
  TAPearson | Jan 28, 2020 |
Climate Change Essays, Articles, Speeches
Review of the Allen Lane paperback edition (2019)

On Fire was part of Shakespeare and Company's 2019 Year of Reading subscription. ( )
  alanteder | Dec 27, 2019 |
Brand! Een vurig pleidooi voor een nieuwe politiek. Door Naomi Klein.

Voor zij die zich afvragen of Klein echt zo snel kan schrijven (‘Nee is niet genoeg’ lijkt nog maar pas geleden), het antwoord is: nee. Brand! is niet een volledig nieuw boek, het is een boek bestaande uit achtergrondartikelen, discussiestukken en openbare lezingen die in een periode van 10 jaar geschreven zijn. Met eerst een heel uitgebreid voorwoord (Wij zijn de natuurbrand) en daarna nog een samenvattende epiloog.
Het is boeiend om te zien (lezen) wat er afgelopen jaren al veranderd is (Trump, #metoo,…) maar het is ook immens treurig om te merken dat we in feite nog geen stap verder zijn qua klimaatoplossingen.

Klein zag en ziet dat er, hoewel de wereld in brand staat zoals Greta zegt, bijna niets gebeurt om die brand te bestrijden. We blijven maar pallaveren en discussiëren hoewel de grote omslag al in 1988 had moeten (en kunnen) gebeuren. De oplossing bestaat er ook niet in om wat (individuele) gedragswijzigingen in te voeren, we moeten bereid zijn een volledige omslag te maken en het kapitalistische consumentisme los te laten. Een omslag die qua omvang amper een gelijke kent. De New Deal van Roosevelt en de mobilisaties in de Tweede Wereldoorlog zijn dingen die in de buurt komen, maar dan nog…

De ondertitel in het Engels luidt: The (burning) case for a Green New Deal. En dat is waar we naartoe moeten, dat toont Klein duidelijk aan aan de hand van haar gebundelde essays en lezingen in Brand! Het gaat om een Green New Deal zoals Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez die in haar verkiezingsprogramma introduceerde. We moeten de crisissen waar we voor staan: de economische, sociale en ecologische samenvoegen tot één groot verhaal en ze ook samen aanpakken, dat is de enige mogelijke manier om de omwenteling te maken die nodig is. Dat klinkt allemaal heel ingewikkeld en quasi onmogelijk en het zal ook niet gemakkelijk worden maar aangezien “de toekomst van het leven zelf op spel staat ,is er niets dat we niet kunnen bereiken.”

Alleen kunnen we bijna geen verschil maken, meestal toch niet (uitzonderingen als Klein, Thunberg en Ocasio-Cortez buiten beschouwing gelaten), en toch. Toch is er veel mogelijk, zoals Klein zegt. De grote omwenteling heeft een draagvlak nodig dat wij als kleine individuen kunnen beiden. Begin met het lezen van dit boek en verander mee de wereld, het is nog niet te laat. ( )
  Els04 | Nov 7, 2019 |
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"For more than twenty years, Naomi Klein has been the foremost chronicler of the economic war waged on both people and planet-and an unapologetic champion of a sweeping environmental agenda with justice at its center. In lucid, elegant dispatches from the frontlines of contemporary natural disaster, she pens surging, indispensable essays for a wide public: prescient advisories and dire warnings of what future awaits us if we refuse to act, as well as hopeful glimpses of a far better future. On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal gathers for the first time more than a decade of her impassioned writing, and pairs it with new material on the staggeringly high stakes of our immediate political and economic choices. These long-form essays show Klein at her most prophetic and philosophical, investigating the climate crisis not only as a profound political challenge but as a spiritual and imaginative one, as well. Delving into topics ranging from the clash between ecological time and our culture of "perpetual now," to the soaring history of humans changing and evolving rapidly in the face of grave threats, to rising white supremacy and fortressed borders as a form of "climate barbarism," this is a rousing call to action for a planet on the brink. With reports spanning from the ghostly Great Barrier Reef, to the annual smoke-choked skies of the Pacific Northwest, to post-hurricane Puerto Rico, to a Vatican attempting an unprecedented "ecological conversion," Klein makes the case that we will rise to the existential challenge of climate change only if we are willing to transform the systems that produced this crisis. An expansive, far-ranging exploration that sees the battle for a greener world as indistinguishable from the fight for our lives, On Fire captures the burning urgency of the climate crisis, as well as the fiery energy of a rising political movement demanding a catalytic Green New Deal"--

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