Meet Naomi Klein, Author of ’On Fire’ | One Small Step | NowThis

– I’m excited for this conversation today with award-winning journalist, columnist, and New York Times best-selling author, Naomi Klein, who’s here today to talk about her new book,
“On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal.” I read your book, I really enjoyed it. It was both deep and intense but then also uplifting at the same time. This book consists of essays that you’ve written back since 2010. Why make the book now? I have been writing
for a long time, as you see in the book, about the need for Also an approach to the crisis of economic inequality, of
racial and gender exclusion, that is really about if we need to change the building blocks of our society to get off fossil fuels, which we know we need to do, then why wouldn’t we
seize that opportunity to redress a lot of things that are not working
in our current economy. For too long, I think the approaches have tended to make people feel like it’s all gonna be
about giving things up. So people have really been fearful of taking this crisis seriously. Now more and more people
aren’t denying the reality that we understand that
this is happening now. All the polls show it. There’s a lot of urgency and there are different approaches. And so a Green New Deal
is an approach that says climate change isn’t
the only crisis we face. We face a crisis of inequality and so let’s multitask. – And how do you suppose
that we achieve that and get that momentum to really create that
level of systematic change? I think it’s significant that the Green New Deal takes its name in part from the original New Deal, from FDR’s New Deal,
introduced in the 1930s, which is an example of a time when the US economy, the US society, changed very, very rapidly over a decade. And that decade is important because what climate
scientists have told us is that we need to
fundamentally change our economy to get off fossil fuels, in a big way, in a decade. So in the original New Deal, you had everything from
introducing unemployment insurance to breaking up the banks, to planting 2.3 billion trees, to all of these infrastructure
relief programs, electrifying rural America. It shows us actually that So not like a piecemeal, like we’re just gonna deal with pollution but this kind of multitasking,
big picture shift. – And do you think the main avenue through which people should
get this going is through, is it protesting? Is it voting? – All of that and I think
that that’s another lesson from the original New Deal. The New Deal has lessons
for us, both good and bad, because there were a lot
of people who were excluded from the benefits of the New Deal. Many African American workers, agricultural workers, domestic workers were excluded from
unemployment, Social Security, a lot of the labor protections. Women were excluded in lots of ways. So we need to make sure
that we center justice and I think that the way in which Congresswoman
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey drafted the original resolution, talking about the importance of centering. The people who are most excluded, have the worst deal in
the current economy, need to be part of
designing this from day one, because if we don’t center that, if we don’t prioritize that, then we have every reason to believe that we will repeat the
mistakes of the past. But the other thing we learned
from the original New Deal is that, yeah, it takes
people running for office, it takes people in office
who want to be pushed, and it takes people
pushing from the outside. – I think we’re seeing it
with the student led protest. We’re getting that momentum
building up that grassroots, and I wanna talk about a
specific essay of yours, “Stop Trying to Save the
World All by Yourself.” – Sure. – And the reason why I bring it up is because I host a
series, “One Small Step” and so we’re trying to empower people, take that one small step. It might learning how to compost, donating your clothes or whatever. – [Naomi] Yeah. – And you argue that
those steps aren’t enough. And you shouldn’t be hung
up on being the best, like that type of environmental
activist, I guess. So what do you think the steps that people should take in your lens, because at the same time, you are asking people to protest and go out in the streets,
or vote, et cetera? – Yeah, so I think the big take home is Our main source of power
in a capitalist economy is what we buy or choose not to buy, or how we consume, what our lifestyle is. And look, I think we should do the things that are necessary to lower
our personal carbon emissions. We’re talking about a
crisis that is global. We are talking about getting
to 100% renewable energy and 100% renewable economy
in just over a decade. That’s why we need to think big. That’s why we need to look
at these moments in history, where it was possible for people to achieve
that level of change. That’s why I think even
though the original New Deal is a flawed historical analogy because there were huge
errors that were made and big exclusions. What I encounter most when I talk to people about climate change is not a denial of the science but a feeling like, “We’ll never do it. “We’re too selfish. “We’re too individualistic.” And people have absorbed
that message so much that now there’s a kind of
a feeling of inevitability, of like, Oh, the apocalypse is coming. I may as well just either
enjoy myself on the way down or hoard things or whatever it is. And so I think it is so important for us to take inspiration from those examples in history that show actually we are capable of being so much stronger
when we organize. And if we think about why it is that you and I are sitting here talking about the Green New Deal, it is because a group of
activists in the Sunrise Movement, young people occupied the
office of Nancy Pelosi after the mid-term elections. And they brought this demand that was inspired by grassroots activists in the environmental justice movement for many, many, many years who have been calling for a
response to the climate crisis. And they were met by
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who visited the occupation of the office and other members of the, what’s sometimes called The Squad. And so you had that pincer. Right?
– Right. – And lo and behold, it’s changed the debate
in less than a year. This is now the climate policy that we’re talking about in this country, that the majority of the candidates vying to lead the Democratic party have said that they support and that shows the power of activism. So this is not to say don’t compost but don’t mistake that for the scale of change that is necessary. – In the book, you say we mistake
capitalism with human nature and I was reading that and I’m like, Wow, that’s so true. Because that’s the
messaging that we’re told but we can organize and we can, obviously we’ve seen political change happening in the last year. And you know, some of these
essays are 10 years old and I think it’s really interesting to see what was the focus. Do you think that we are
kind of coming to a place where we’re gonna see a lot of this stuff actually
come to fruition and– – Yeah, absolutely, I mean
this is the other reason why I organized the essays in order because that shows a
couple of things, right? It shows that the climate
crisis is moving, right? So in the 10 years that I’ve
been writing about this crisis, we’ve lost the Great Barrier Reef. We have lost much of
the Arctic’s summer ice, summer sea ice. We’re losing the Amazon as we speak. So this isn’t a crisis
that just stays still as we talk and fail to act. It moves, it gets worse. If we wanna understand why we fail to act, we have to look at the fact that this crisis landed on our laps at the height of the
Reaganomics and Thatcherism. We were deregulating the market, we were privatizing almost
every aspect of our economy. It was this celebration
of hyperindividualism. So, of course, we didn’t do
what was necessary because It demands that we
actually take some control of the kind economy that we want. With your generation, as opposed to mine, their entire adulthood has been in the aftermath
of the financial crisis. And there’s an understanding
that this economic system that has produced the climate crisis is producing so many other crises. Housing crises, job precarity, the gig economy, all of this. Tech companies that really do not have our best interest at heart. People of that generation
are not afraid of change, are not afraid of talking
about systemic change because they understand the benefits. And this is why I think that those small things
that you talk about are worth talking about as well, because I think so much of the messaging the counter-messaging that you get from the right on this is, “Oh, your life is gonna be
terrible if you do these things.” And I think what you know is that when we do a lot of these things, if we’re privileged
enough to live in cities that allow us to bike and
that have public transit and we don’t live in a food desert. And we have to understand
that these are privileges. If we do do that, we actually realize that we’re
healthier, we’re happier. Life doesn’t end.
– It’s enriching. It’s very enriching.
– It’s enriching. Right.
– It really is. – And so that I think gives us a deeper sort of body knowledge, when people come and say, “Oh,
it’s the end of the world. “People just wanna send
you back to the Dark Ages.” I think people will be
more confident in going, “No, actually especially if we invest in making sure that everybody has access to nature, everybody has access to the arts, everybody has access to public transit. This isn’t something that is just for wealthy
people living in cities. – In your book, you go
into some of the fears we might wanna have about the right, like climate barbarism, and also just like this idea
of shutting down the borders and using the climate
as an excuse for that. How do we even counteract
that in the public narrative? – In the book, I talk about three fires. The climate fires, the fires
of the climate movement, which is like rising
to face this challenge, like the climate strikers
and the Sunrise Movement. But there is this other fire which is, in the book, I call it the fires of hate or the fires of fascism where we are seeing responses
to ecological breakdown and also to economic breakdown, and feelings of precarity and insecurity. And figures like Trump,
but not just Trump, like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Duterte in the Philippines. The rise of these strong men figures who play on those feelings of insecurity. To say look, we’re just
gonna protect our own, we’re gonna lock down our borders. This really, really explicit, very dangerous world view
being articulated of just, “Well, is it so bad if
there’s fewer people on Earth? “And maybe this is some sort of cleansing. “Maybe this is God’s work.” And we’ve also seen two mass shooters in the past eight months.
– Yeah. – One in Christchurch, New Zealand and one in El Paso, Texas, and this was part of
why they were targeting people they perceived as immigrants. If we stay on the business as usual road, if we just pretend nothing’s happening, if we’re just la-la-la,
let’s just keep shopping and I don’t wanna deal with this, that takes us to a very radical place. It takes us to a very
radical place physically, in terms of what happens to our planet but it also takes us to a very
radical place politically. So if we don’t wanna go to that road, and I really think most of us don’t wanna go end up in that place, then we have to change a whole lot about how our economy and society works. We have to embrace a change
that we actually design. That doesn’t just happen because
we were willing to change. – Where do we go from here? What are the steps that we can take? – [Naomi] Yeah. Yeah. – I mean, obviously 2020 is a big issue. We don’t want an administration, another four years,
not believe in climate. What can our audience do? – This is gonna be a fight because there’s a lot
of money on the line. And so we need somebody
who is up for that fight. The other thing we need to do is we need to build
that outside power, at the same time. And this is not about saying, if your movement isn’t
climate, just drop it, and focus on climate. If you’re a migrant justice activist, of course you know that climate is one of the drivers of migration. And if you’re a Black
Lives Matter activist, of course, the mentality that treats black people as if they’re disposable in the streets of this country, is the same mentality
that is allowing countries where a majority of black people live to suffer the most under
the climate crisis. It is the same mentality. So we all, I think, just need to do a better
job of connecting the dots because the dots are
there to be connected. So it isn’t about drop
everything, join this. – That makes so much sense. Well, thank you so much
for being here today. This was a wonderful conversation. I personally learned so much. And if you haven’t already,
check out her book, “On Fire: The (Burning)
Case for a Green New Deal.” Thank you.
– Thank you so much.

Comments 7

  • You are so inspirational 💕💕

  • Very interesting. You make amazing work!

  • We do need to give unnecessary things up. Using items one time and or items that don't last long need to stop being manufactured.

  • Very good interview!! Thank you!! Lots of food for thought and action!

  • the NGO fed rules the world

  • we are under severe threat
    1. gvt/ taxpayers' debt is out of control… ex: in usa $23 t
    2. pollution is harming all
    3. plastic is suffocating ocean…. food…. drinking water.. air we breathe..
    4. crops are failing. ex: cane… beets
    5. water shortages.. ex: the ogalalla aquifer is receeding dramatically.. Wells are drying .
    6. gvt of by and for banc and inc are spraying chems and chaff.. jet trails.. come on fly boys you can't be that effing ignorant…
    7. we are profoundly dependent on the grid.. it could crump due to:
    a. sunspot ex: Carrington sunspot 1859
    b. terror ex: Metcalf ca rifle attack
    c. weather. ex: calif
    d. fire … ex: camp fire paradise ca..
    ray gun ? drone ? starvwars ? don't laugh.. army have weaponized microwave (radar) beams lazer guided…. drone mounted… see Bourne legacy…in reality… you are not going up against armed cammed helidrones with anything less than sams..

    the grey state is rapidly consolidating the power….power…the ultimate drug/endorphin

  • One small step should be a separate channel so I can subscribe it ❤️❤️

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