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This Changes Everything
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Learn the key ideas of the book by Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything

The truth about climate change

It seems hard to believe, but in rich nations, climate change is not a universally accepted and recognised issue. This Changes Everything describes how the denial strategy has been particularly effective in the United States, meaning that precious time has been wasted and that we are now inching ever closer to disaster with every day that passes. In order to reverse the trend, we have to start reducing our consumption by adopting new ways of living and implementing sustainable models of development. The future of our entire planet rests on our ability to decisively and effectively introduce new and improved climate policies.

This Changes Everything
Read in 12 min.
Listen in 15 min.

The strategy of denial: climate change is either portrayed as a ‘trojan horse of eco communism’, or not talked about at all

Media coverage of climate change has diminished significantly over recent years, despite warnings from experts that severe weather conditions are clearly on the rise: in 2007, the three major American news network, CBS, NBC, and ABC, reported as many as 147 in-depth stories on climate change, but this figure fell to just fourteen in 2011. The denial strategy effectively covers up reliable evidence that has led 97% of environmental scientists to conclude that climate change, deriving purely from the life and habits of our global population, is really happening. This proof has been gathered over the past two decades from content analyses of peer-reviewed studies, as well as public statements made by virtually every expert organisation in the field and summarised in the 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science Report.

In 2007, according to data from the Harris polling firm, 71% of Americans believed that the continued use of fossil fuels would cause the climate to change. By 2009, this number had dropped to 51%, and by June 2011, it had fallen further to 44%, less than half of the population. Similar trends have been recorded in the United Kingdom and Australia. Scott Keeter, director of the research survey at the Pew Research Center for People & the Press, described the statistics in the United States as being “among the largest shifts over a short period of time seen in recent public opinion history”. Recently, however, this trend appears to be reversing, which is most likely to be a result of the fact that more and more people are experiencing the direct consequences of extreme weather events.


The key ideas of "This Changes Everything"

The strategy of denial: climate change is either portrayed as a ‘trojan horse of eco communism’, or not talked about at all
The position on climate change, on its causes, and its effects, is a highly political issue: liberals tend to acknowledge the threat, while conservatives generally believe that it is all a lie
The issue of climate change also revolves around money: there is an increasingly evident connection between the refusal to accept scientific proof of climate change, and social and economic privilege
The effects of cheap labour and the use of dirty energy have a boomerang effect on Western countries: rising emissions driven by globalisation affect the whole world
In the meantime, we have to start consuming less, and fast: this is something we can all do, because it does not require a technological or infrastructural revolution
It is crucial that we rethink our habits, and redesign our cities, so that we can go back to the relatively healthy lifestyles of the 1960s and 1970s, when emissions were still under control
Take-home message
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