'Naomi Klein's work has always moved and guided me. She is the great chronicler of our age of climate emergency, an inspirer of generations' - Greta Thunberg
For more than twenty years Naomi Klein's books have defined our era, chronicling the exploitation of people and the planet and demanding justice. On Fire gathers for the first time more than a decade of her impassioned writing from the frontline of climate breakdown, and pairs it with new material on the staggeringly high stakes of what we choose to do next.
Here is Klein at her most prophetic and philosophical, investigating the climate crisis not only as a profound political challenge but also as a spiritual and imaginative one. Delving into topics ranging from the clash between ecological time and our culture of 'perpetual now,' to rising white supremacy and fortressed borders as a form of 'climate barbarism,' this is a rousing call to action for a planet on the brink.
With dispatches from the ghostly Great Barrier Reef, the smoke-choked skies of the Pacific Northwest, post-hurricane Puerto Rico and a Vatican attempting an unprecedented 'ecological conversion,' Klein makes the case that we will rise to the existential challenge of climate change only if we are willing to transform the systems that produced this crisis.
This is the fight for our lives. On Fire captures the burning urgency of the climate crisis, as well as the energy of a rising political movement demanding change now.
Klein (This Changes Everything) makes a case for a Green New Deal in a treatise high on passion, but low on specifics. It consists largely of reprinted writings reporting, think pieces, public talks with brief notes providing updates. After an account of speaking at a 2015 Vatican press conference on Pope Francis's climate change encyclical, Klein comments that the Church's encouraging gesture now seems overshadowed by a lack of accountability over its sexual abuse crisis. These retrospective pieces lack the urgency of the book's lengthy introduction about fostering "economies built both to protect and to regenerate the planet's life support system and to respect and sustain the people who depend on them." In the brief epilogue, Klein returns to the book's main thrust and argues the Green New Deal still has a "fighting chance." But even that formulation acknowledges the difficulties involved, and her more extravagant proposals for instance, transforming every post office in her native Canada into a "hub for green transition" don't encourage confidence in her ambitious program. Klein's cri de coeur ("when the future of life is at stake, there is nothing we cannot achieve") will galvanize some and depress others.