Speaker Profile: Naomi Klein

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Naomi Klein is the Presidential speaker in our 2016 Series "Architects of the Future." Klein is a renowned environmental activist and the author of "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate," one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014. In the book she argues that global capitalism and climate change are bound together and we require radical solutions to our economic system to address the climate crisis. In 2015, the book was adapted into a documentary.

Klein will speaking at Hopkins this Tuesday, February 23rd at 6PM in Shriver Hall. Catch up on some of her interviews, features, and the debate surrounding capitalism and climate and change before coming to join us.

THe New York Times Sunday Book Review: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

Klein diagnoses impressively what hasn’t worked. No more claptrap about fracked gas as a bridge to renewables. Enough already of the international summit meetings that produce sirocco-quality hot air, and nonbinding agreements that bind us all to more emissions. Klein dismantles the boondoggle that is cap and trade. She skewers grandiose command-and-control schemes to re-engineer the planet’s climate. No point, when a hubristic mind-set has gotten us into this mess, to pile on further hubris. She reserves a special scorn for the partnerships between Big Green organizations and Immense Carbon, peddled as win-win for everyone, but which haven’t slowed emissions. Such partnerships remind us that when the lamb and the lion lie down together, only one of them gets eaten.
— Rob Nixon


The companion feature-length documentary to Klein's bestseller, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING explores environmental activists worldwide who are fighting to make progress in the climate crisis.

United Nations Climate Change Conference (cop 21): Klein Blogs live from PariS

Klein was present at the UN Climate Change Conference 2015 held in Paris. But she says the agreements reached at COP 21, while a step in the right direction, are not nearly enough in magnitude in effectively addressing the climate crisis.

Salon Interview: "There are no non-radical options left before us"

In her interview with Salon, Klein argues that gradualism is no longer a viable answer to the climate crisis. She also points out the importance of merging coalitions on the issues of racial and gender equality and poverty, forming the base for a climate justice movement that "can win."

And I think that the climate movement has always been hurt by this perception that this is a luxury issue, that this is the issue for people who don’t have more urgent economic issues to worry about. And it’s that kind of idea that this is kind of a bourgeois concern. And so I think that when climate action is married with those urgent needs for jobs and better services and a better quality of life for people, that’s when people will fight to win. That’s when people will fight because they’re fighting for their lives. And they’re fighting not just for the future, they’re fighting for their present. And I think that’s the kind of movement we haven’t had yet. We haven’t seen what that looks like yet.
— Naomi Klein

Critique of Naomi Klein: "Can Climate Change Cure Capitalism?"

In her more critical review of This Changes Everything, Kolbert argues that Klein's argument that the climate justice movement has the potential to capture the attention of the masses is far-fetched.

To draw on Klein paraphrasing Al Gore, here’s my inconvenient truth: when you tell people what it would actually take to radically reduce carbon emissions, they turn away. They don’t want to give up air travel or air conditioning or HDTV or trips to the mall or the family car or the myriad other things that go along with consuming 5,000 or 8,000 or 12,000 watts. All the major environmental groups know this, which is why they maintain, contrary to the requirements of a 2,000-watt society, that climate change can be tackled with minimal disruption to “the American way of life.” And Klein, you have to assume, knows it too. The irony of her book is that she ends up exactly where the “warmists” do, telling a fable she hopes will do some good.
— Elizabeth Kolbert