I’m also the author of NO LOGO and THE SHOCK DOCTRINE. My new book THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING is about why the climate crisis is the best opportunity we’ve ever had to rebuild our broken economies.

We’re also putting the finishing touches on a documentary inspired by the book, coming in 2015.

More broadly, I’m focussed in how to build to a massive counterpower to the corporate polluters -- one that fights as hard for meaningful change as polluters fight to protect business-as-usual. I don’t feed climate denier trolls so don’t even bother. I seem to annoy centrist liberals most of all.

A few things I write about in the book: * Why Richard Branson and Bill Gates aren’t going to save us from climate change * What geo-engineering is and why it is literally the worst idea in the world * What climate deniers understand about climate change that many progressives don’t * The rise of “Blockadia” -- kick-ass, place-based movements stopping fossil fuel projects in their tracks

Right now I’m at home in Toronto, where I’m back from touring the book in the U.S., Canada and U.K., and getting ready for the Netherlands and Belgium next week. I borrowed my 2 year old’s crayons to make the Reddit sign.

Proof it’s me: http://i.imgur.com/mUpnYvy.jpg

I’ll be taking your questions shortly. AMA!


**UPDATE: This has been so fun and the questions have been genius -- many much too profound for this format. What a fantastic community -- I'm so sorry I couldn't answer all the questions, but I promise to read all of them and will try to tweet out a few responses over the next couple of days: https://twitter.com/NaomiAKlein

Thanks Reddit!

Comments: 1168 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

LowHangingTesticle168 karma

It seems that animal agriculture and human diet are too often left out of discussions around climate change, despite alarming numbers and statistics that suggest it is "one of the most significant contributors." (See Livestock's Long Shadow). Is there a hesitancy to address this because it forces us to radically change our daily behaviors (versus, say, changing a lightbulb?)? Is the "green" movement uninformed? Is it motivated to exclude these uncomfortable conclusions?

NaomiKlein147 karma

I do talk about the need to shift our industrial ag system to an agro-ecological one in the book. And I agree that a meat-based diet is unsustainable. I just don’t see how you enforce vegetarianism : ) And as I’ve said earlier, focusing on individual consumer behaviour, whether it’s changing lightbulbs or going vegan, is just not going to get us there.

necuchinalela137 karma

What is the best piece of advice that you can give to the average person as to what he or she can do to help our planet? Where do we start to take climate action? What are the most effective steps and platform to push for change?

NaomiKlein235 karma

I always tell people that the most important thing they can do is join groups of other people taking action. And that action depends on where they can have the most influence. If they’re university students, that may mean divestment. If they live somewhere in the path of a pipeline, it may mean stopping that pipeline. If they’re a brilliant economist, it may mean working with colleagues on policy approaches that movements can champion.

What’s important is to break out of the mindset that climate change can be tackled by invidual action. Those actions are important when they model change, but they do not substitute for organizing.

zeperf94 karma

Do you support the use of nuclear power to fight climate change?

NaomiKlein78 karma

Here are three key quotes from the book on this question:

  1. "Nuclear power and geoengineering are not solutions to the ecological crisis; they are a doubling down on exactly the kind of reckless, short-term thinking that got us into this mess. Just as we spewed greenhouse gases into the atmosphere thinking that tomorrow would never come, both of these hugely high-risk technologies would create even more dangerous forms of waste, and neither has a discernible exit strategy."

  2. "Nuclear power could well slow down the transition, since renewable energy is faster and cheaper to roll out, critical factors given the tightness of the timeframe. Moreover, according to renewable energy expert Mark Z. Jacobson, in the near-term nuclear is “not carbon-free, no matter what the advocates tell you. Vast amounts of fossil fuels must be burned to mine, transport and enrich uranium and to build the nuclear plant. And all that dirty power will be released during the 10 to 19 years that it takes to plan and build a nuclear plant. (A wind farm typically takes two to five years.)”

  3. "Much of the support for nuclear power as a solution to global warming is based on the promise of “next generation” nuclear technologies. Their boosters assure us that they eliminate many of the risks currently associated with nuclear energy, from meltdowns to longterm waste storage to weaponization of enriched uranium. And perhaps they do have the potential to eliminate some of those risks. But since these technologies are untested, and some may carry even greater risks, the onus is on the boosters, not on the rest of us, to demonstrate their safety. All the more so because we have proven clean, renewable technologies available, and democratic, participatory models for their implementation, that demand no such risks."

lawrencekraussquotes74 karma

How can the Canadian political system avoid becoming polarized like the American system? What would you say is the number one solution?

NaomiKlein189 karma

Harper is doing his level best to enshrine that polarized system, so getting him out is important. Electoral reform to bring in proportional representation would be a huge help.

I also think a strong, brave CBC helps. I only wish the current CBC wasn’t making it so fucking hard for us to defend.

isequaltozero51 karma

Does it worry you at all when the New York Times review of 'This Changes Everything' praises you as "pragmatic" for not challenging the existence of capitalism? Do you actually believe a reformist uprising can thwart the environmentally ruinous logic of capitalism indefinitely? Would not your book be more accurately titled, 'This Changes Nothing: The Status Quo vs. Some Temporary Reform', as you shy away from the only enduring solution, the end of capitalism?

NaomiKlein86 karma

Thanks for sharing! The book does discuss the clash between short-term economic growth, which is at the centre of capitalism, and climate action. Some reviewers have chosen to emphasize the parts of the book that only challenge neoliberalism. In truth, the book challenges both.

But it will never be enough for hyper-sectarian Marxists, and I’m cool with that.

jnetelle44 karma

Ms. Klein, I’ve been following your work since No Logo when I was a college student. So happy to see you on reddit!

My question – When you do university lectures around the U.S., what have you noticed in terms of the attitudes of the students with which you engage with? Any changes from back in the No Logo days to now with This Changes Everything?

Btw, I watched the one you did at New School. It was fantastic and the panel format was great.

NaomiKlein54 karma

Thanks! I can definitely say that college students were far less politically engaged and interested back when I wrote No Logo then they are today.

mrfuzzylips42038 karma

What do you say to climate change deniers?

NaomiKlein157 karma

climate change denier

I made a decision not to debate climate change deniers about the science, but I’m happy to talk to anyone about policy responses. I think it just fuels the false perception that this is a real debate within the scientific community. I also think it’s a lot more important and useful to engage people who don’t deny the science but opt out of the whole issue — because that’s actually most people.

As I write in the book, climate change denial is about the need to defend a worldview. It’s nearly impossible to convince people to abandon their core worldview.

RedwoodRustlers36 karma

What real alternatives will there be in the near future to oil & coal that wouldn't break the bank, or planet?

NaomiKlein48 karma

Decentralized renewables hold huge hope, as Germany is showing right now. If you live in the U.S., check out The Solutions Project: http://thesolutionsproject.org/ 
It maps out how to get to 100% renewables, state by state.

Camilolo35 karma

What are your thoughts on the future of capitalism in the United States?

NaomiKlein42 karma

What are your thoughts on the future of capitalism in the United States?

My thought is that it’s at war with the future.

If I could get be comprehensive on this question in a webchat, I wouldn’t have just written a book about it : )

philoponeria28 karma

What do Centrist Liberals have against you?

NaomiKlein67 karma

Centrist liberals tend to have a problem with mass social movements because they believe change comes from within the halls of power. Mass movements are messy and make them nervous. So I think it has to do with this basic difference.

kevintastybacon26 karma

Thoughts on Margaret Wente reviewing your book without reading it?

NaomiKlein65 karma

What mattered to me was that she liked my clothing : )

peter_rock26 karma

Is campaign finance reform necessary to make significant progress on environmental issues?

NaomiKlein28 karma

I think in the U.S., it is.

dork_99925 karma

Hi Naomi! How do you feel about flying? Airplanes are one of the top contributors to climate change, yet environmentalists fly all around the world giving talks on carbon emissions. Thank you!

NaomiKlein49 karma

We should definitely all fly less (particularly the richest of us who do it the most often). Many people I know would fly less often if we had better rail systems in North America.

I admire people like Tyndall Center's Kevin Anderson who almost never fly ... and over the past five years, I cut my flying to about 1/10th of what it was. But in the past six weeks I’ve pretty much undone all that good, though I still try to do as much by Skype as I can, and will do more in the future.

As you can see, I feel really conflicted about the flying I’m doing to get the message of this book out there. It’s very far from ideal, but in our current system it’s almost impossible to avoid completely in my line of work. If we can’t criticize the system from within the system, then there won’t be many critics at all.

maxglasgow22 karma

Radiohead have said that they are big fans of your work. How influential do you think that artists, musicians and public figures actually are in highlighting the issues that you fight for?

NaomiKlein33 karma

Radiohead had a HUGE impact on bringing No Logo to young readers. I don’t think every celebrity has the same kind of influence — Radiohead has very special relationship with its fanbase, one that is quite intellectual.

So I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, except that no social movement can survive or succeed without transcendent art and culture embedded within it.

saskboy22 karma

What's the best way for someone interested in running for city council to make required changes in their city, so people care about climate change?

NaomiKlein45 karma

Do a way better job of linking affordable public transit and safe bike lanes to the climate emergency. Show that climate action concretely improves quality of life.

curiousparlante20 karma

Hi Naomi, thank you for the important work you do. Who are your heroes, mentors, and colleagues in your career fighting for a sustainable and equitable future on earth? Anyone you recommend looking into?

NaomiKlein30 karma


I work with an amazing team of colleagues on the book, film and movement-building around this project.

My movement heroes right now are a Bay Area group called Movement Generation — check them out: http://movementgeneration.org/

I love my fellow Board members at 350.org: http://350.org/about/board/

And I recently made a list of the environmental books by women that have most influenced me, at the bottom of this article: http://www.vogue.com/1009011/naomi-klein-this-changes-everything-climate-change/ . There are lots of leads to follow there.

GomorrahSkipper20 karma

Ms. Klein, thanks for doing this. After reading, "This Changes Everything," I'm curious; do you feel more or less optimistic that the U.S. will devote the resources and political capital toward making the painful and game-changing moves to mitigate the worst effects of climate disruption before it's too late?

NaomiKlein33 karma

My level of optimism pretty much depends on the day, and how strong our movement is at any given time. After the climate march, I was feeling pretty optimistic. After the midterms, less so. After the Keystone Senate vote, more so.

flora_poste16 karma

Hi Naomi, loved NL and The SD and really looking forward to reading TCE. Apologies if this is explicitly answered in the book, but how do you envisage a 'massive counterpower' with the ability to fight the corporates, both on a climate change and more general economic platform? As far as I can imagine, it will take a major shift in how civil society operates and interacts within itself, especially at a grassroots level, to become such a force - how do you see this happening?

Apologies for the slightly jumbled question, hope it makes some sort of sense...

NaomiKlein26 karma

I agree that it takes a major shift, and do discuss it in the book. A central idea behind the approach I take is that we all have to get out of our “issue” silos: labour, environment, poverty — and build a genuine social movement that is democratic and has a coherent narrative. Part of our problem is the NGO-isatin of the left.

ChuckDingo16 karma

When not saving the world and educating the masses, what's your guilty pleasure?

NaomiKlein33 karma

The Good Wife, Scandal, The Hunger Games. And spoiling my two year-old.

NicCageKillerBees15 karma

Why is geoengineering literally the worst idea in the world? Are there any instances that geoengineering would be a net positive?

NaomiKlein24 karma

To me it comes down to the scale of the risk and the fallibility of human intelligence. We’ve seen the smartest guys in the room fuck up again and again: Deep Water Horizon, Fukushima, derivatives. The biggest risks of geoengineering cannot be tested without deploying. That in itself makes it unethical.

rdobrow1310 karma

Absolute LOVE your book! For those of us who want to be active in a national organization, what group or groups are most in line with the perspective of your book?

NaomiKlein9 karma

It depends on your area of interest, and there are so many covered in the book. We’ll get a list of groups up soon on the This Changes Everything website.

But in the meantime, check out the blog, because a lot of groups have been submitting articles that give a sense of their current campaigns: http://thischangeseverything.org/blog/

admorobo9 karma

Hi Naomi! Have you considered writing a follow-up to (or continuation of) No Logo? So much has changed with regards to technology, communications, marketing, and advertising that it seems a re-examination of these systems may be in order.

NaomiKlein28 karma

Yes. It's called This Changes Everything.

Rosengeist9 karma

Who are some of the businesses, demographics, political groups, etc. who benefit the most from denying climate change and how can we best respond to those who propagate lies about this issue based on purely economic motives?

NaomiKlein22 karma


Basically we’re up against those who benefit most from the status quo and would see their profits eroded if climate action became a reality. That’s not just fossil fuel companies, but all the large corporations that benefit from a culture of deregulation, low taxes, free trade, etc, that is standing in the way of a robust response. And of course we’re up against the intellectuals they pay to think.

That’s why the climate movement has to be based on economic and racial justice — because as I’ve said before: the only way to win against a small group of interests with a whole lot to lose is to have a whole lot of people on your side with a lot more to gain.

gsrf9 karma

I love This Changes Everything - currently about half way through. Are you aware there is a song about The Shock Doctrine?


NaomiKlein17 karma

My favourite Shock Doctrine song is Ana Tijoux’s “Shock” — turn it up loud! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=177-s44MSVQ

ChimeRightIn3 karma

Hi Naomi,

I have a three part question:

  1. What's the most fulfilling aspect of your work lately?
  2. Where do you see the most positive, bipartisan action taking place right now?
  3. Who inspires you?

Enjoy your AMA!

NaomiKlein5 karma

  1. What's the most fulfilling aspect of your work lately? Most fulfilling aspect is finding ways to highlight amazing local activists as I tour with the book.

  2. Where do you see the most positive, bipartisan action taking place right now? Probably in the local fights against fracking and pipelines, which reliably cross party lines. See the recent anti-fracking victory in Denton, Texas.

  3. Who inspires you? This morning, it’s the protestors at at #BurnabyMountain getting arrested trying to stop a Kinder Morgan Pipeline.