Discussion of Naomi Klein's new book - This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate

Sunday, January 11, 2015 - 3:00pm

Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St, Toronto (Bathurst & Bloor)

In December in Lima, Peru, the countries of the world met under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change in preparation for a new convention to be signed in Paris in 2015. There is now a scientific consensus that the world faces a planetary emergency from climate change. It is already devastating for dozens of species and millions of people across the planet. Climate science now suggests it will soon be impossible to avoid breaching the 2°c critical tipping points and we could already be locked into even further warming.

The Lima Conference should have been a milestone that marked out how governments will take urgent action to tackle climate change and to support vulnerable people across the world to adapt to its locked in impacts. But it was a failure and ran up against a political-economic system that puts the pursuit of profit above the needs of people and the limits of nature.

This is the importance of Naomi Klein's new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, where she argues that the main culprit of runaway climate change is the system itself: capitalism. She explains that a system that requires endless growth is incompatible with sustainability and meaningful climate action. Klein insists and shows that market solutions will not do the trick, and that even "Big Green" environmental groups are part of the problem because they falsely suggest we can solve the crisis without fundamental changes in society.

In reality, Klein asserts, in order to rein in climate change and maintain a habitable planet for human beings, we must seek new economic and political models. In the book Klein points out that resistance to dirty energy projects and efforts to build better models are already occurring around the world, citing inspiring examples. Klein is not only convinced that moving towards alternatives is possible and that we can turn the tide on climate, she sees the challenge as an opportunity to make the changes we desperately need in our societies anyway.

Join us as our speakers review and assess the book and offer additional thoughts on steps forward.


Sam Gindin spent most of his working life in the trade union movement as research director of the Canadian Autoworkers. He is the co-author, with Leo Panitch of the Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire.

Patricia E. (Ellie) Perkins is a Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, where she teaches and advises students in the areas of ecological economics and critical interdisciplinary research design. Her research focuses on feminist ecological economics, climate justice, and participatory community- and watershed-based environmental education for political action.

Umair Muhammad is the author of Confronting Injustice: Social Activism in the Age of Individualsm. He is a PhD student in Political Science at York University. His research focuses on the political economy of the environment.

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The event is free.

The space is accessible by mobile ramp upon request in advance. Washrooms are not accessible, unfortunately.

Sponsored by: Centre for Social Justice, Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly, and Socialist Project