Penguin, 2015 

pbk 576 pp

ISBN 978-0-241-95618-2 

Reviewed by Katie Hill


One of the many reasons I love Naomi Klein is that she has an incredible talent for proving, beyond any question, the things we instinctively know to be true. Part of you will read this book thinking it’s not telling you anything new, but another part will be deeply grateful that someone with razor-sharp research skills has sat down and found indubitable evidence to back up your gut feelings. Climate change is real. Neither politicians nor business gurus will save us. Something’s got to give.

The book is crammed with case studies from the frontline of the climate movement – from companies and organisations working on new ‘solutions’ to global warming to the shady coalitions and funding deals that are sealed behind closed doors. It could easily have descended into a depressing catalogue of reasons why we – and the Earth – are doomed, but the main message is one of hope.

Naomi’s conclusion is that it’s not too late to save the planet if we act now; but, for the reasons outlined in the book, the action must be dramatic and all-encompassing. The evidence presented suggests it’s too late to use our current channels – including politics, economics and business – to effect change: instead, one way or another, everything must change, and the Earth will do it for us if we ignore the signs and continue on our current path.

To avert disaster, we need to change how we live, what we consume, how our economies function and how we understand our place on Earth, but this won’t be as difficult as it sounds. Naomi offers examples of alternatives to the status quo, and empowers the reader by reminding us that mass movements have the power to declare a crisis even if politicians have chosen to look the other way.

For Naomi, climate change presents ‘a historic opportunity’ to improve lives, close the gap between rich and poor, create jobs and reinvigorate democracy from the ground up. It’s nothing new – but what are we waiting for?