Naomi Klein

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Capitalism Vs. The Climate
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  • * New York Times non-fiction bestseller
  • * Winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Articles from Naomi Klein

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Why a Climate Deal is the Best Hope for Peace

Published in The New Yorker

Soon after the horrific terror attacks in Paris, last Friday, our phones filled with messages from friends and colleagues: “So are they going to cancel the Paris climate summit?” “The drums of war are beating. Count on climate change being drowned out.” The assumption is reasonable enough. While many politicians pay lip service to the existential urgency of the climate crisis, as soon as another more immediate crisis rears its head—war, a market shock, an epidemic—climate reliably falls off the political map.

The Post-Savior Society

Published in The Daily Beast

Our inboxes runneth over with congratulations from American friends. “Pleasure to be able to look north without wincing,” “we’re all thrilled to have regained our sensible neighbors to the north,” “Goodbye Stephen ‘Keystone XL’ Harper.” And then there was this from England: “you now officially have the hottest Prime Minister EVER!”

Like us, our friends tend to spend a lot of time thinking about climate change, so you can understand their euphoria. Among other crimes, Stephen Harper shredded environmental protections, re-fashioned our country as a petro-state, and made us climate criminals on the world stage. Now after the ugliest decade in recent Canadian memory, he is gone at last.

So why are we not breathing more easily?

Perhaps it’s because of a few things we learned about our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, during the election—details that didn’t exactly make national news south of the border.

Stephen Harper's Politics Put Canada to Shame

Published in The Guardian

Ask Canadians about the most pressing issues facing their country and, alongside concerns about the economy and healthcare, they will inevitably raise the need for action on climate change. And no wonder: British Columbia and the Prairies were in the grips of a serious drought this summer and, only weeks after our election, world leaders will head to Paris to try to come up with a serious plan to stop global warming.

Yet, encouraged by Conservative leader Stephen Harper, much of the election debate has been narrowed to focus on “wedge issues” such as cultural differences. But Canadians cannot afford to be pulled in by the politics of diversion and division.

The reason is simple: when it comes to climate change, we are simply out of time. Climate scientists have told us that this is the most critical decade to begin decisively weaning ourselves off fossil fuels if we are to have a decent shot at preventing truly catastrophic warming.

Change Everything or Face A Global Katrina

For me, the road to This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate begins in a very specific time and place. The time was exactly ten years ago. The place was New Orleans, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The road in question was flooded and littered with bodies.

Today I am posting, for the first time, the entire section on Hurricane Katrina from my last book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Rereading the chapter 10 years after the events transpired, I am struck most by this fact: the same military equipment and contractors used against New Orleans’ Black residents have since been used to militarize police across the United States, contributing to the epidemic of murders of unarmed Black men and women. That is one way in which the Disaster Capitalism Complex perpetuates itself and protects its lucrative market.

This material is free for reproduction.

From the Introduction:

Shell's Arctic Drilling is the Real Threat to the World, Not Kayaktivists

Published in The Guardian

Shell has one or two rivals for the title of Planet’s Most Irresponsible Company, but it’s definitely the most ironic.

The grand irony, of course, is that, having watched the Arctic melt as global temperatures rose, Shell was first in line to drill the newly melted waters for yet more oil which would raise the temperature some more.

But lately, the planetary-scale irony was compounded by one of a more local variety, contained in the phrase safety zone.

Canada's New Climate Movement

This is an edited version of a speech that Naomi gave on May 21st in downtown Toronto, at a press conference announcing the upcoming March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate on July 5. You can also watch video of Naomi’s full speech.

I’ve had the incredible privilege of traveling around the world and meeting with activists, labour unions, and politicians who are focusing on climate change. I want to tell you that that the coalition of groups we’re witnessing being assembled here in Canada is unique: organizations representing the most marginalized people in Toronto; First Nations who are our water and carbon keepers; environmentalists waging inspiring divestment campaigns; and the trade union movement, including the country’s largest private sector union representing workers at the heart of the fossil fuel economy. We understand that we have key differences, but we also understand that what unites us is greater.

Naomi in the NYT Sunday Book Review: "The Age of Acquiescence," by Steve Fraser

Published in The New York Times

For two years running, Oxfam International has traveled to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to make a request: Could the superrich kindly cease devouring the world’s wealth? And while they’re at it, could they quit using “their financial might to influence public policies that favor the rich at the expense of everyone else”?

In 2014, when Oxfam arrived in Davos, it came bearing the (then) shocking news that just 85 individuals controlled as much wealth as half of the world’s population combined. This January, that number went down to 80 individuals.

The Right to Be Cold: A revelatory memoir that looks at what climate change means for the north

Published in The Globe and Mail

Sheila Watt-Cloutier is one of the most widely respected political figures to emerge from Canada’s Arctic, and this potential was identified early on. When she was just 10 years old, she and her friend Lizzie were selected as promising future Inuit leaders and sent to live with a white family in the tiny coastal community of Blanche, N.S. Having grown up in Nunavik, Que., on dog sleds and in canoes, the young Watt-Cloutier loved new experiences and approached the long voyage south in the spirit of adventure.

The girls were in for what Watt-Cloutier now describes as a “brutal shock.”

No One Saw Anything: Bella and the "Heart and Soul" of Community

Naomi delivered this speech on December 18 at The Opera House in Toronto, at a special production of the Basement Revue to honour Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.

Listen to an audio recording of Naomi’s reading here, with live musical accompaniment from Cris Derksen.

On July 20, 2013, Bella Laboucan-McLean fell 31 stories off the balcony of a condo tower in downtown Toronto. She had been at a small gathering inside one of the building’s many glass boxes. There were five other people in the condo that night.

A resident of a lower-floor heard the sound of her body falling and alerted the police.

Bella was twenty-five years old, Cree from Northern Alberta.

The police deemed the death “suspicious.”

I’ll say.

Five people besides Bella in an 800 square foot condo. All of Bella’s belongings still inside: Purse. Wallet. Shoes. Phone.

Why #BlackLivesMatter Should Transform the Climate Debate

Published in The Nation

The annual United Nations climate summit is wrapping up in in Lima, Peru and on its penultimate day, something historic happened. No, not the empty promises from powerful governments to finally get serious about climate action—starting in 2020 or 2030 or any time other than right now. The historic event was the decision of the climate justice movement to symbolically join the increasingly global #BlackLivesMatter uprising, staging a “die in” outside the convention center much like the ones that have brought shopping malls and busy intersections to a standstill, from the US to the UK.

“For us it is either death or climate justice,” said Gerry Arances, national coordinator for the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

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