This Changes Everything

Men argue. Nature acts.”
~ Voltaire

Oppression is domesticating. Gravest obstacle to the achievement of liberation is that oppressive reality absorbs those within it and thereby acts to submerge human beings consciousness.”
~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed


Jakub Markiewicz is only 18 years old. A few days ago, he pinned himself to a truck’s tire when Burnaby citizens tried to stop Kinder Morgan workers from doing “their job”, i.e. surveying a virgin mountain (also a Conservation Area) to bring yet another pipeline that would raise the amount of oil transported from the Tar Sands in Alberta to tankers coming to Vancouver’s port.

After the incident, the company sued the protesters because “the protesters are making the company to lose millions of revenues a day”…

The protesters who received the lawsuit are normal, caring, professional people who never put themselves into trouble, as they told the Vancouver Observer: “we are no radicals”.

Today I open the 24Hours to read in first page: B.C. unprepared for climate—based migration . In the same newspaper, I read that Canada’s financial minister is “hopeful” that Keystone pipeline is now going to be approved (as G.O.P. won majority in US senate and now have enough votes to pass pipeline’s approval)

If you doubt that the majority is still blindly walking towards a cliff and stubbornly believing we should not only support “business as usual” but even push it further, then look no further than the recent U.S. elections.


The facts

The IPCC last report (the most important organization in the world studying climate change) says that we should phase out fossil fuels and cut emissions to avoid catastrophic consequences…

You can read the actual reports from: Climate change 2014: Mitigation of climate change and Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”
~ Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate


As Naomi Klen points out in her book, climate change “changes everything”: forget about all the other pains of the world; forget about injustice and hunger, poverty and war, anything you can think of becomes minimal in the face of what climate change is doing and is able to do in the near future: we are no talking about a few coastal towns being drowned, we are not talking about a few thousands being displaced, we are not talking about a few dozens of species going extinct or increase in flooding and desertification…we are talking about huge changes: the disappearance of civilisation, the sixth mass extinction, a planet so changed that would be unrecognizable and, most likely, inhabitable…

It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet.”
~ Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate


I continue my week as usual: I go to work, I read my books, I work on my assignments…thinking, feeling…looking for an answer: it is heavy to carry this inside and not talking about it, but I have grown used to it: as this article mentions, you don’t just walk into a cocktail party and start talking about climate change…the people I work with have most urgent problems: they need money, they need jobs, they may be homesick or traumatized, some are terribly alone or have suffered from discrimination, some are climate or economic refugees…

Then on Wednesday I travel to North Van just two days after a stream has flooded and inundated a few houses: I teach Disaster Preparedness to two groups of about 60 people mostly from China and Iran. A lady from Iran says: “the biggest Disaster we need to prepare for is Climate Change”…


The group discuses the causes for disasters: everybody commits to start preparing.

I finish my workshops and come back home after s trip that lasts 2.5 hours: am I doing enough?
I look at the newspaper this morning; it reads: Citizens show up en masse for Kinder Morgan court case…I feel inspired, excited, “we will make it!”…then I read the comments sections: we are doomed.
I come back home: I am finishing an essay for my English class: it is a research paper on the influence of media on public perceptions of climate change. As I read the peer review studies, the interviews and a couple of books I am left with one thought: “it is not the media, it is not the government, it is not this big company behaving as a bully: it is us”


So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.”
~ Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

Because, underneath all of this is the real truth we have been avoiding: climate change isn’t an “issue” to add to the list of things to worry about, next to health care and taxes. It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.”
~ Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate


Further reading:


When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons.”
~ Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947

2 Comments on “This Changes Everything

  1. Pingback: Jeffster Awards #37 | Deconstructing Myths

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