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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. The Sherlock Holmes of money in politics -- Trevor Potter -- is here with some clues to what the billionaires and super PACs got for their lavish spending in the most expensive election in our history. In a nutshell: "You ain't seen nothing yet."

But first, if you've been curious about why New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama for re-election, just take another look at the widespread havoc caused by the Frankenstorm benignly named Sandy. Having surveyed all this damage Bloomberg Business Week concluded: “It’s Global Warming, Stupid: If Hurricane Sandy doesn't persuade Americans to get serious about climate change, nothing will."

Well it was enough to prompt President Obama, at his press conference this week, to say more about global warming than he did all year.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.

BILL MOYERS: But he made it clear that actually doing something about it will take a back seat to the economy for now. He did return to New York on Thursday to review the recovery effort on Staten Island. Climate change and Hurricane Sandy brought Naomi Klein to town, too. You may know her as the author of "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” Readers of two influential magazines to put Naomi Klein high on the list of the 100 leading public thinkers in the world. She is now reporting for a new book and documentary on how climate change can spur political and economic transformation. She also has joined with the environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben in a campaign launched this week called "Do the Math." More on that shortly.

Naomi Klein, Welcome.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: First, congratulations on the baby.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: How old now?

NAOMI KLEIN: He is five months today.

BILL MOYERS: First child?

NAOMI KLEIN: My first child, yeah.

BILL MOYERS: How does a child change the way you see the world?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well it lengthens your timeline definitely. I’m really immersed in climate science right now because of the project I’m working on is related to that. So you know there are always these projections into the future, you know, what's going to happen in 2050? What's going to happen in 2080? And I think when you're solo, you think, "Okay, well, how old will I be then?" Well, you know, and now I'm thinking how old will he be then, right? And so, it's not that-- but I don't like the idea that, "Okay, now I care about the future now that I have a child." I think that everybody cares about the future. And I cared about it when I didn't have a child, too.

BILL MOYERS: Well, I understand that but we're so complacent about climate change. A new study shows that while the number of people who believe it's happening has increased by, say, three percentage points over the last year, the number of people who don't think it is human caused has dropped.

NAOMI KLEIN: It has dropped dramatically. I mean, the statistics on this are quite incredible. 2007, according to a Harris poll, 71 percent of Americans believed that climate change was real, that it was human caused. And by last year, that number went down to 44 percent. 71 percent to 44 percent, that is an unbelievable drop in belief. But then you look at the coverage that the issue's received in the media. And it's also dropped dramatically from that high point. 2007, you know, this was this moment where, you know, Hollywood was on board. “Vanity Fair” launched their annual green issue.

And by the way, there hasn't been an annual green issue since 2008. Stars were showing up to the Academy Awards in hybrid cars. And there was a sense, you know, we all have to play our part, including the elites. And that has really been lost. And that's why it's got to come from the bottom up this time.

BILL MOYERS: But what do you think happened to diminish the enthusiasm for doing something about it, the attention from the press, the interest of the elite? What is it?

NAOMI KLEIN: I think we're up against a very powerful lobby. And you know, this is the fossil fuel lobby. And they have every reason in the world to prevent this from being the most urgent issue on our agenda. And I think, you know, if we look at the history of the environmental movement, going back 25 years to when this issue really broke through, you know, when James Hansen testified before Congress, that--

BILL MOYERS: The NASA scientist, yeah.

NAOMI KLEIN: Exactly, our foremost climate scientist, and said, "I believe it is happening. And I believe it is human caused." That was the moment where we could no longer deny that we knew, right? I mean, scientists actually knew what well beforehand. But that was the breakthrough moment. And that was 1988. And if we think about what else was happening in the late '80s? Well, the Berlin Wall fell the next year. And the end of history was declared. And, you know, climate change in a sense, it hit us at the worst possible historical moment. Because it does require collective action, right? It does require that we, you, regulate corporations. That you get, you know, that you plan collectively as a society. And at the moment that it hit the mainstream, all of those ideas fell into disrepute, right? It was all supposed to be free market solutions. Governments were supposed to get out of the way of corporations. Planning was a dirty word, that was what communists did, right? Anything collective was a dirty word. Margaret Thatcher said, "There's no such thing as society."

Now if you believe that, you can't do anything about climate change, because it is the essence of a collective problem. This is our collective atmosphere. We can only respond to this collectively. So the environmental movement responded to that by really personalizing the problem and saying, "Okay, you recycle. And you buy a hybrid car." And treating this like this could or we'll have business-friendly solutions like cap and trade and carbon offsetting. That doesn't work. So that's part of the problem. So you have this movement that every once in a while would rear up and people would get all excited and we're really going to do something about this. And whether it was the Rio Summit or the Copenhagen Summit or that moment when Al Gore came out with Inconvenient Truth, but then it would just recede, because it didn’t have that collective social support that it needed.

And on top of that, you have, we've had this concerted campaign by the fossil fuel lobby to both buy off the environmental movement, to defame the environmental movement, to infiltrate the environmental movement, and to spread lies in the culture. And that's what the climate denial movement has been doing so effectively.

BILL MOYERS: I read a piece just this week by the environmental writer Glenn Scherer. He took a look and finds that over the last two years, the lion's share of the damage from extreme weather, floods, tornadoes, droughts, thunder storms, wind storms, heat waves, wildfires, has occurred in Republican-leaning red states. But those states have sent a whole new crop of climate change deniers to Congress.

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, someone's going to have to explain Oklahoma to me, you know?

BILL MOYERS: My native state.

NAOMI KLEIN: My sister lives in Oklahoma. And, you know, it is so shocking that James Inhofe, the foremost climate denying senator is from the state that is so deeply climate effected. There was something, actually, I was-- last year I covered the Heartland Conference, which is the annual confab for all the climate deniers. And James Inhofe was supposed to be the keynote speaker. And the first morning of the conference, there was lots of buzz. He’s the rock star among the climate deniers. Inhofe is coming, he's opening up this conference, right? And the first morning the main conference organizer stands up at breakfast and lets loose the bad news that James Inhofe has called in sick and he can't make it.

And it turns out that he had gone swimming in a lake filled with blue-green algae, which is actually a climate-related issue. When lakes get too warm, this blue-green algae spreads. And he had gone swimming. And he had gotten sick from the blue-green algae. So he actually arguably had a climate-related illness and couldn't come to the climate change conference. But even though he was sick, he wrote a letter from his sickbed just telling them what a great job he was doing. So the powers of denial are amazingly strong, Bill. If you are deeply invested in this free-market ideology, you know, if you really believe with your heart and soul that everything public and anything the government does is evil and that, you know, our liberation will come from liberating corporations, then climate change fundamentally challenges your worldview, precisely because we have to regulate.

We have to plan. We can't leave everything to the free market. In fact, climate change is, I would argue, the greatest single free-market failure. This is what happens when you don't regulate corporations and you allow them to treat the atmosphere as an open sewer. So it isn't just, "Okay, the fossil fuel companies want to protect their profits." It's that it's that this science threatens a worldview. And when you dig deeper, when you drill deeper into those statistics about the drop in belief in climate change, what you see is that Democrats still believe in in climate change, in the 70th percentile. That whole drop of belief, drop off in belief has happened on the right side of the political spectrum. So the most reliable predictor of whether or not somebody believes that climate change is real is what their views are on a range of other political subjects. You know, what do you think about abortion? What is your view of taxes? And what you find is that people who have very strong conservative political beliefs cannot deal with this science, because it threatens everything else they believe.

BILL MOYERS: Do you really believe, are you convinced that there are no free-market solutions? There's no way to let the market help us solve this crisis?

NAOMI KLEIN: No, absolutely the market can play a role. There are things that government can do to incentivize the free market to do a better job, yes. But is that a replacement for getting in the way, actively, of the fossil fuel industry and preventing them from destroying our chances of a future on a livable planet? It's not a replacement.

We have to do both. Yes, we need these market incentives on the one hand to encourage renewable energy. But we also need a government that's willing to say no. No, you can't mine the Alberta tar sands and burn enough carbon that you will have game over for the climate as James Hansen has said.

BILL MOYERS: But I'm one of those who is the other end of the corporation. I mean, we had a crisis in New York the last two weeks. We couldn't get gasoline for the indispensable vehicles that get us to work, get us to the supermarket, get us to our sick friends or neighbors. I mean, the point I'm trying to make is we are all the fossil fuel industry, are we not?

NAOMI KLEIN: You know, we often hear that. We often hear that we're all equally responsible for climate change. And that it's just the rules of supply and demand.

BILL MOYERS: I have two cars. I keep them filled with gasoline.

NAOMI KLEIN: But I think the question is, you know, if there was a fantastic public transit system that really made it easy for you to get where you wanted to go, would you drive less? So I don't know about you, but I, you know, I certainly would.

BILL MOYERS: I mean, I use the subways all the time here.

NAOMI KLEIN: And if it was possible to recharge an electric vehicle, if it was as easy to do that as it is to fill up your car with gasoline, you know, if that electricity came from solar and wind, would you insist, "No, I want to fill my car with, you know, with dirty energy"? No, I don't think you would. Because this is what I think we have expressed over and over again. We are willing to make changes. You know we recycle and we compost. We ride bicycles. I mean, there there's actually been a tremendous amount of willingness and goodwill for people to change their behavior. But I think where people get demoralized is when they see, "Okay, I'm making these changes, but emissions are still going up, because the corporations aren't changing how they do business." So no, I don't think we're all equally guilty.

BILL MOYERS: President Obama managed to avoid the subject all through the campaign and he hasn’t exactly been leading the way.

NAOMI KLEIN: He has not been leading the way. And in fact, you know, he spent a lot of time on the campaign bragging about how much pipeline he's laid down and this ridiculous notion of an all of the above energy strategy, as if you can, you know, develop solar and wind alongside more coal, you know, more oil, more natural gas, and it's all going to work out in the end.

No, it doesn't add up. And, you know, I think personally, I think the environmental movement has been a little too close to Obama. And, you know, we learned, for instance, recently, about a meeting that took place shortly after Obama was elected where the message that all these big green groups got was, "We don't want to talk about climate change. We want to talk about green jobs and energy security." And a lot of these big green groups played along. So I feel--

BILL MOYERS: You mean the big environmental groups?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, big environmental groups went along with this messaging, talking about energy security, instead of talking about climate change, 'cause they were told that that wasn't a winnable message. I just think it's wrong. I think it's bad strategy.

BILL MOYERS: He got reelected.

NAOMI KLEIN: He got, well, he got reelected, but you know what? I think he, I think Hurricane Sandy helped Obama get reelected.

BILL MOYERS: How so?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, look at the Bloomberg endorsement that came at the last minute. I mean, Bloomberg endorsed Obama because of climate change. Because he believed that this was an issue that voters cared enough about that they would, that Independents would swing to Obama over climate change, and some of the polling absolutely supports this, that this was one of the reasons why people voted for Obama over Romney was that they were concerned about climate change and they felt that he was a better candidate on climate change.

The truth was, we didn't have a good candidate. We had a terrible, terrible candidate on climate change, and we had a candidate on climate change who needs a lot of pressure. So I feel more optimistic than I did in 2008, because I think in 2008 the attitude of the environmental movement was, "Our guy just got in and we need to support him. And he's going to give us the legislation that we, that we want. And we're going to take his advice. And we're going to be good little soldiers."

And now maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I think that people learned the lesson of the past four years. And people now understand that what Obama needs or what we need, forget what Obama needs, is a real independent movement with climate change at its center and that's going to put pressure on the entire political class and directly on the fossil fuel companies on this issue. And there's no waiting around for Obama to do it for you.

BILL MOYERS: Why would you think that the next four years of a lame duck president would be more successful from your standpoint than the first four years, when he's looking to reelection?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I think on the one hand, we're going to see more direct action. But the other strategy is to go where the problem is. And the problem is the companies themselves. And we’re launching the “Do the Math” tour which is actually trying to kick off a divestment movement. I mean, we're going after these companies where it hurts, which is their portfolios, which is their stock price.

BILL MOYERS: You're asking people to disinvest, to take their money out of, universities in particular, right? This is what happened during the fight against apartheid in South Africa and ultimately proved successful.

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, and this is, we are modeling it on the anti-apartheid divestment movement. And the reason it's called “Do the Math” is because of this new body of research that came out last year. A group in Britain called “The Carbon Tracker Initiative.” And this is, you know, a fairly conservative group that addresses itself to the financial community. This is not, you know, sort of activist research. This is a group that identified a market bubble and were concerned about this meant to investors. So it's a pretty conservative take on it. And what the numbers that they crunched found is that if we are going to ward off truly catastrophic climate change, we need to keep the increase, the temperature increase, below 2 degrees centigrade.

NAOMI KLEIN: The problem with that is that they also measured how much the fossil fuel companies and countries who own their own national oil reserves have now currently in their reserves, which means they have already laid claim to this. They already own it. It's already inflating their stock price, okay? So how much is that? It's five times more. So that means that the whole business model for the fossil fuel industry is based on burning five times more carbon than is compatible with a livable planet. So what we're saying is, "Your business model is at war with life on this planet. It's at war with us. And we need to fight back."

So we're saying, "These are rogue companies. And we think in particular young people whose whole future lies ahead of them have to send a message to their universities, who, and, you know, almost every university has a huge endowment. And there isn't an endowment out there that doesn't have holdings in these fossil fuel companies. And so young people are saying to the people who charged with their education, charged with preparing them for the outside world, for their future jobs, "Explain to me how you can prepare me for a future that with your actions you're demonstrating you don't believe in. How can you prepare me for a future at the same time as you bet against my future with these fossil fuel holdings? You do the math and you tell me." And I think there's a tremendous moral clarity that comes from having that kind of a youth-led movement. So we're really excited about it.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean rogue corporations? You're talking about Chevron and Exxon-Mobil and BP and all of these huge capitalist or institutions.

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, rogue corporations, because their business model involves externalizing the price of their waste onto the rest of us. So their business model is based on not having to pay for what they think of as an externality, which is the carbon that's spewed into the atmosphere that is warming the planet. And that price is enormous. We absolutely know that the future is going to be filled with many more such super storms and many more such costly, multibillion-dollar disasters. It's already happening. Last year was-- there were more billion-dollar disasters than any year previously. So climate change is costing us. And yet you see this squabbling at, you know, the state level, at the municipal level, over who is going to pay for this

NAOMI KLEIN: The public sector doesn't have the money to pay for what these rogue corporations have left us with, the price tag of climate change. So we have to do two things. We have to make sure that it doesn't get worse, that the price tag doesn’t get higher. And we need to get some of that money back, which means, you know, looking at issues like fossil fuel subsidies and, you know, to me, it's so crazy. I mean, here we are post-Hurricane Sandy. Everyone is saying, "Well, maybe this is going to be our wakeup call." And right now in New York City, the debate is over how much to increase fares in public transit. And they want to, the Metro Transit Authority wants to increase the price of riding the subway, you know, the price of riding the trains, quite a bit. And so how does this make sense? We're supposedly having a wakeup call about climate change. And we're making it harder for people to use public transit. And that's because we don't have the resources that we need.

BILL MOYERS: You've been out among the areas of devastation. Why?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, for this book I'm currently writing about climate change and a documentary to go with it, so we were filming in the Rockaways, which is one of the hardest-hit areas and Staten Island and in Red Hook. And also in the relief hubs, where you see just a tremendous number of volunteers organized by, actually, organized by Occupy Wall Street. They call it Occupy Sandy.

BILL MOYERS: Really?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yes. And what I found is that people are—the generosity is tremendous, the humanity is tremendous. I saw a friend last night, and I asked her whether she'd been involved in the hurricane relief. And she said, "Yeah, I gave them my car. I hope I get it back. If you see it, tell me." So people are tremendous.

BILL MOYERS: This means--

NAOMI KLEIN: So one of the things that you find out in a disaster is you really do need a public sector. It really important. And coming back to what we were talking about earlier, why is climate change so threatening to people on the conservative end of the political spectrum? One of the things it makes an argument for is the public sphere. You need public transit to prevent climate change. But you also need a public health care system to respond to it. It can't just be ad hoc. It can't just be charity and goodwill.

BILL MOYERS: When you use terms like “collective action,” “central planning,” you scare corporate executive and the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation because they say you want to do away with capitalism.

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, first of all, I don't use a phrase like "central planning." I talk about planning, but I don't think it should be central. And one of the things that one must admit when looking at climate change is that the only thing just as bad or maybe even worse for the climate than capitalism was communism. And when we look at the carbon emissions for the eastern bloc countries, they were actually, in some cases, worse than countries like Australia or Canada. So, let's just call it a tie. So we need to look for other models. And I think there needs to be much more decentralization and a much deeper definition of democracy than we have right now.

BILL MOYERS: Decentralization of what, Naomi?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, for instance, you know, if we think about renewable energy, well, one of the things that's happened is that when you try to get wind farms set up, really big wind farms, there's usually a lot of community resistance that's happened in the United States. It's happened in Britain. Where it hasn't happened is Germany and Denmark. And the reason for that is that in those places you have movements that have demanded that the renewable energy be community controlled, not centrally planned, but community controlled. So that there's a sense of ownership, not by some big, faceless state, but by the people who actually live in the community that is impacted.

BILL MOYERS: You've written that climate change has little to do with the state of the environment, but much to do with the state of capitalism and transforming the American economic system. And you see an opening with Sandy, right?

NAOMI KLEIN: I do see an opening, because, you know, whenever you have this kind of destruction, there has to be a reconstruction. And what I documented in “The Shock Doctrine” is that these right-wing think tanks, like the ones you named, like the American Enterprise Institute or the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, they historically have gotten very, very good at seizing these moments of opportunity to push through their wish list of policies.

And often their wish list of policies actually dig us deeper into crisis. If I can just-- if you'll bear with me, I'll just give you one example. After Hurricane Katrina, there was a meeting at the Heritage Foundation, just two weeks after the storm hit. Parts of the city were still underwater. And there was a meeting, the “Wall Street Journal” reported on it. And I got the minutes from the meeting.

The heading was 31 free market solutions for Hurricane Katrina. And you go down the list and it was: and don't reopen the public schools, replace the public schools with vouchers. And drill for oil in ANWAR, in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, more oil refineries. So what kind of free market solutions are these, right?

Here you have a crisis that was created by a collision between heavy weather (which may or may not have been linked to climate change, but certainly it's what climate change looks like) colliding with weak infrastructure, because of years and years of neglect. And the free market solutions to this crisis are, "Let's just get rid of the public infrastructure altogether and drill for more oil, which is the root cause of climate change." So that's their shock doctrine. And I think it's time for a people's shock.

BILL MOYERS: People’s shock?

NAOMI KLEIN: A people's shock, which actually we've had before, as you know, where, you know, if you think about 1929 and the market shock, and the way in which the public responded. They wanted to get at the root of the problem. And they wanted to get away from speculative finance and that's how we got some very good legislation passed in this country like Glass-Steagall, and much of the social safety net was born in that moment. Not by exploiting crisis to horde power for the few and to ram through policies that people don't want, but to build popular movements and to really deepen democracy.

BILL MOYERS: Well, the main thesis of “Shock Doctrine,” which came out five years ago before the great crash was that disaster capitalism exploits crises in order to move greater wealth to the hands of the fewer and fewer people. You don't expect those people to change their appetites do you or their ways do you, because we face a climate crisis?

NAOMI KLEIN: I don't expect them to. I wrote “The Shock Doctrine” because I believe that we, I believed at the time that we didn't understand this tactic. We didn't understand that during times of crisis certain sectors of the business world and the political class take advantage of our disorientation in order to ram through these policies. And I believed, at the time, that if we understood it, you know, if we had a name for it, if we had a word, a language for it, then the next time they tried it, we would fight back. Because the whole tactic is about taking advantage of our disorientation in those moments of crisis. And the fact that we often can become childlike and look towards, you know, a supposed expert class and leaders to take care of us. And we become too trusting, frankly, during disasters.

BILL MOYERS: It used to be said that weather, now global warming, climate change, was the great equalizer. It affected rich and poor alike. You don’t think it does, do you?

NAOMI KLEIN: What I'm seeing. And I've seen this, you know--I've been tracking this now for about six years, more and more, there's a privatization of response to disaster, where I think that wealthy people understand that, yes, we are going to see more and more storms. We live in a turbulent world. It's going to get even more turbulent. And they're planning. So you have, for instance private insurance companies now increasingly offer what they call a concierge service. The first company that was doing this was A.I.G. And in the midst of the California wildfires about six years ago, for the first time, you saw private firefighters showing up at people's homes, spraying them in fire retardant, so that when the flames came, this house would stay. This mansion, usually, would be standing and the one next door might burn to the ground. So this is extraordinary. Because we would tend to think of, you know, firefighting. This is definitely, you know, a public good. This is definitely something that people get equally. But now we're finding that even that there's even a sort of two-tiering of protection from wildfires.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, there was even a short-lived airline in Florida I read about that offered five-star evacuation service in events of hurricanes.

NAOMI KLEIN: After Hurricane Katrina a company in Florida saw a market opportunity. And they decided to offer a charter airline that would turn your hurricane into a luxury vacation. That was actually the slogan. They would let you know when a hurricane was headed for your area. They would pick you up in a limousine, drive you to the airport, and whisk you up. And they would make you five star hotel reservations at the destination of your choice. So, you know, why does a hurricane have to be bad news after all?

BILL MOYERS: And this kind of privatization is what you wrote about in “Shock Doctrine,” that privatization of resources, monopolization of resources by the rich, in times of crisis, further divide us as a society

NAOMI KLEIN: Absolutely. And, you know, one of the things about deregulated capitalism is that it is a crisis creation machine, you know? You take away all the rules and you are going to have serial crises. They may be economic crises, booms and busts. Or there will be ecological crises. You're going to have both. You're just going to have shock after shock after shock. And the more, the longer this goes on, the more shocks you're going to have.

And the way we're currently responding to it is that with each shock, we become more divided. And the more we understand that this is what the future looks like, the more those who can afford it protect themselves and buy their way out of having to depend on the public sector and therefore are less invested in these collective responses. And that's why there has to be a whole other way of responding to this crisis.

BILL MOYERS: You wrote recently that climate change can be a historic moment to usher in the next great wave of progressive change.

NAOMI KLEIN: It can be and it must be. I mean, it's our only chance. I believe it's the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. And we've been kidding ourselves about what it's going to take to get our emissions down to the extent that they need to go down. I mean, you talk about 80 percent lowering emissions. I mean, that is such a huge shift.

And I think that's part of the way in which, and I don't mean to beat up on the big environmental groups, because they do fantastic work. But I think that part of the reason why public opinion on this issue has been so shaky is that it doesn't really add up to say to the public, you know, "This is a huge problem. It's Armageddon." You know, you have “Inconvenient Truth.” You scare the hell out of people. But then you say, "Well, the solution can be very minor. You can change your light bulb. And we'll have this complicated piece of legislation called cap and trade that you don't really understand, but that basically means that companies here can keep on polluting, but they're going to trade their carbon emissions. And, you know, somebody else is going to plant trees on the other side of the planet and they'll get credits."

And people look at that going, "Okay, if this was a crisis, wouldn't be we be responding more aggressively? So wouldn't we be responding in a way that you have, we've responded in the past during war times, where there's been, you know, that kind of a collective sense of shared responsibility?" Because I think when we really do feel that sense of urgency about an issue, and I believe we should feel it about climate change, we are willing to sacrifice. We have shown that in the past. But when you hold up a supposed emergency and actually don't ask anything of people, anything major, they actually think you might be lying, that it might not really be an emergency after all. So if this is an emergency, we have to act like it. And yeah, it is a fundamental challenge. But the good news is, you know, we get to have a future for our kids.

BILL MOYERS: Naomi Klein, thank you for joining me.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure.

Naomi Klein on Capitalism and Climate Change

November 15, 2012

Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, says the tragic destruction of Hurricane Sandy can also be the catalyst for the transformation of politics and our economy. She’s been in New York visiting the devastated areas — including those where “Occupy Sandy” volunteers are unfolding new models of relief — as part of her reporting for a new book and film on climate change and the future, and joins Bill to discuss hurricanes, climate change, and democracy.

“Let’s rebuild by actually getting at the root causes. Let’s respond by aiming for an economy that responds to the crisis both [through] inequality and climate change,” Klein tells Bill. “You know, dream big.”

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  • hensonk

    What an elegant advocate for change. Yeah Naomi!

  • Anonymous

    See also Economics for Ecology http://www.p-ced.com/1/projects/ukraine/sumy/

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.johnson.739 Dan Johnson

    Ms. Klein helped me to understand why some people refuse to believe in climate change; it would require collective action, which is anathema to their belief in free market capitalism.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Neuville/653259765 Don Neuville

    I would like to know at what point in their normal operations of providing the fuels will they start to realize that they will have to back off production because it is affecting their global acceptance.

  • Ken Piaskowski

    Bottoms Up!

  • Ken Piaskowski
  • susanpub

    As an unhappy resident of Oklahoma, I will tell you that James Inhofe is an IDIOT.

  • woodstoves2

    Rapa Nui.

  • Guest

    Hi Bill!

    Thanks for your show tonight with Naomi Klein on the Climate Crisis. I’m a Democratic Congressional candidate in northern California and I have been working on Climate Crisis activism for over 30 years. It has been the foundation of my Congressional campaign since 2006 and is the main reason I feel compelled to run. Our last chance is to redirect Congress and the federal budget right now!

    In fact, I coined the meme climate crisis. Today I finished my letter to President Obama about what the science shows we must do in response to the Climate Crisis: essentially, a war effort to build Ecotopia Now. Please read my letter to the President. It answers so many of your questions on tonight’s show about where we go from here and how we organize to make adequate foundational economic and social change in the nick of time.

    Interestingly, during my entire 2012 Congressional campaign, at every debate I challenged my competitors to Do the Math. The math is to answer the question how much must we reduce our total atmospheric CO2 levels and by when in order to prevent Climate Chaos? If a candidate has no answer to that question then they are unqualified to run for Congress in 2012.

    Thanks for all that I’ve learned for your life of excellent and important work.

    For a New Green America,

    Andy Caffrey

    Caffrey for Congress 2014, CA-2

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/andy-caffrey/andy-caffreys-letter-to-obama-about-climate-crisis-pot-legalization-and-how-to-f/10151149148481235

  • http://CaffreyForCongress.org Andy Caffrey

    Hi Bill!

    Thanks for your show tonight with Naomi Klein on the Climate Crisis. I’m a Democratic Congressional candidate in northern California and I have been working on Climate Crisis activism for over 30 years. It has been the foundation of my Congressional campaign since 2006 and is the main reason I feel compelled to run. Our last chance is to redirect Congress and the federal budget right now!

    In fact, I coined the meme climate crisis. Today I finished my letter to President Obama about what the science shows we must do in response to the Climate Crisis: essentially, a war effort to build Ecotopia Now. Please read my letter to the President. It answers so many of your questions on tonight’s show about where we go from here and how we organize to make adequate foundational economic and social change in the nick of time.

    Interestingly, during my entire 2012 Congressional campaign, at every debate I challenged my competitors to Do the Math. The math is to answer the question how much must we reduce our total atmospheric CO2 levels and by when in order to prevent Climate Chaos? If a candidate has no answer to that question then they are unqualified to run for Congress in 2012.

    Thanks for all that I’ve learned from your life of excellent and important work.

    For a New Green America,

    Andy Caffrey

    Caffrey for Congress 2014, CA-2

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/andy-caffrey/andy-caffreys-letter-to-obama-about-climate-crisis-pot-legalization-and-how-to-f/10151149148481235

  • http://www.facebook.com/alma.morgan.3 Alma Morgan

    I read and watched Inconvient truth and I am doing what I can to help. This needs to be out there and a priority. I don’t have investments because I don’t trust Wall Street and I don’t trust banks so I belong to a credit union. So what can I do?

  • LDoorescr

    Hello,
    It’s not about Capitalism.
    It is about “unregulated” or “regulated for the benefit of the rich owners and property” capitalism.
    And it is about MONOPOLY CAPITALISM
    which is what we have now.
    Duopoly Capitalism would be more accurate.
    Main Point: We all believe more or less in a False Ideology which known facts refute … in part.
    I believe Financial Incentives work. Taxing what I don’t like and giving tax credits to things I do like; works.
    More People and Rules trying to catch or get ahead of “these guys” can’t be done much. They have way more money as the US found out when it took on IBM and ATT.
    Raising the COST of waste disposal and Making the Producers PAY IT … WILL allow the “market” to work and the business owners to creatively SOLVE the Problem.
    IT TOOK 40 Years to Get here… It will take a long time to get back … IF we decide … Which we Have Not Done Yet … that we are Going to FIX THIS MESS.
    Larry Doores American Resident 6 years of Costa Rica

  • Rationalist

    I’m still confused. What is she suggesting we do? Bill stated it clearly, “We all are the fossil fuel industry.” Is she proposing that the government tell us to scale back our lifestyle? Why not “just do it” instead of begging the government to make others do it? What did the people affected by Sandy yearn for most after the storm? Electricity and fuel! Is she suggesting we deny them that?

    Instead of blaming “rogue corporations”, all true believers should just stop using hydrocarbons (that includes wood and plastics) and those things made using hydrocarbons (essentially everything else). When that happens, the Indians and Chinese, who are not high enough on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to worry about things like climate change, will consume whatever the believers cut back on.

    It sounds like a pyrrhic victory, but emotional arguments tend to be only skin deep, so that’s par for this course.

  • Concerned

    Bill, thank you for another excellent, thought-provoking show, you’re right on as always. Thank you for interviewing Naomi Klein, who is one of the most insightful social critics of this generation, “The Shock Doctrine” is a fascinating read. Following Naomi’s important coverage after the BP disaster, it’s great to see her getting very involved now on climate change with Bill McKibben and 350.org, in particular the “Do the Math” tour: https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/11/08-0

    Climate change is now assured, but we can make a difference and avoid a real tipping point if we act quickly. We owe it to future generations. For those who have not yet read it, Bill McKibben’s
    “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” article should be required reading if you are interested in the urgency of making changes: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/24-2

    Again, Bill Moyers, Naomi Klein: thank you for your important and hope-giving work, your concern for justice, for “the rest of us”, and the only home we’ll ever know — the earth.

  • Anonymous

    I <3 Naomi KLEIN!!! I want to help somehow… she has inspired me with her brilliant discussion of this paramount issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1479085648 Anonymous

    Obama said right from the start that he really could do little without the people. The people bought into the NewsCorp message and did not back the fight against climate change.

    The same is true now and it up to the people to move the government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1479085648 Anonymous

    I am glad that Ms. Klein is telling what she knows, but Ms. Klein cannot do anything either without the people doing what needs done. She has no more power hen any politician. We need to take down the fossil fuel overlord.

    We need to make our elected officials, ALEC, news media, religious zealot, and old people feel the necessity behind this crisis.

  • ken

    didn’t global warming started after the ice age, even before man was on this planet?

  • Mike D

    Naomi Klein is my great hero and I’m extraordinarily proud to claim her as a fellow Torontonian. The “Shock Doctrine” has now become as much a part of the language as “Occam’s Razor” or “Russian Roulette.”

    Russian Roulette is the climate-change game. If we don’t do anything, it might hit someone else or we might even make a profit eg. the Arctic resources opening up. This is a game of adolescents – the adults right now are in places like Germany and Norway.

    The big canard is why bother to do anything when China and India are such big polluters. China and India are dirt-poor countries whose new coal-burning economies are fuelled (pun intended) by consumerism in the West.

  • steve rosenthal

    The Klein talk was thoughtful but I thought that her coments on divestment in rouge corporations could have gone further and suggest that the $ that might have gone into the stocks of those companies be channeled into a solar system or something that would reduce your personal or school caboen footprint. 2 years ago I installed a solar system and have generated more energy than I use each year. What is wonderful is that this is a very good investment, and now that you get less than 1% from a bank account, why not invest in becoming your own energy company, have fixed $0 electricity costs….
    What could be better than locking in energy costs for 30 years ?

  • yocona

    As a resident of Mississippi, I can sympathize.

  • gail zawacki

    The climate is going to be – already has been – catastrophic, but the single minded focus on CO2 by climate activists is not an effective method to induce the cultural shift and behavioral change required. The human predicament is much broader and is based on overpopulation. The climate crisis is a symptom of that, as is pollution which is killing the ecosystem even faster than climate change. That pond Inhofe was swimming in was likely eutrophic, primarily from agricultural runoff. Even climate activists are afraid to spell out the sacrifice and drastic conservation that would be necessary if humanity is to survive, which is why the movement is an epic fail.

  • CarrotChasing

    What doesn’t work is thinking we can somehow have a environmental movement and still have children, hybrid cars and organic grocery stores. We can have those false hopes or we can have a livable planet….we can’t have both.

  • erica pulley

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TallPhilosopher John Champagne

    The defect that allows economic actors to NOT pay for the costs that they impose on society is more than 40 years old. It is as old as civilization and economic systems. It is the reason that civilizations are not sustainable and tend to over-reach, beyond what the environment can sustain. A solution: Take account of economic externalities. Charge appropriate fees and give the proceeds to the people. http://gaiabrain.blogspot.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/TallPhilosopher John Champagne

    Put corporations on notice that they have no right, collectively, to take natural resources or put pollution in excess of what the people deem as permissible. http://gaiabrain.blogspot.com And only vote for politicians who recognize this fact and will pursue policies that will manifest this principle in reality. This is what WE must do collectively.

  • hbrand

    man was alive long before the last ice age, but sure it did, which is why the ice sheets melted. THat is not the question and it’s a different deal. That man-made warming has occurred in the industrial age is understood by 99.9% of the climate scientists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TallPhilosopher John Champagne

    Some people believe (at least one) that the widespread use of fire to drive large game animals affected climate, perhaps cooling it and causing an ice age.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TallPhilosopher John Champagne

    It’s not that free markets don’t work, exactly. It’s that we have not been using them correctly and to the full extent necessary. We have not insisted that industries actually *ask the people what price they should pay us* when they use the air and water (what belongs to all of us in common) to get rid of their unwanted materials. Neither have we declared such a price. If they are paying the right amount, then the levels of pollution (and rates of taking of natural resources, if we also charge appropriate extraction fees) will not be in excess of what most people say is acceptable.

    For the most part, industries are paying zero or near zero when they release their unwanted material into the air and water. We should be charging ‘parking fees’ to these industries. If we notice a shortage of parking space (if there is more demand by industries to release emissions than there is willingness among the people to allow the emissions), then the fees should increase. This would cause some industries to change their business model or manufacturing process, to reduce demand, thus bringing about a balance between supply and demand. There would be a match between what the people want to allow and what is actually happening in reality.

    A system of random surveys could be used to discern what the people want. “More or less of this (or that) emission?”

    A deeper definition of democracy would recognize that environmental impacts ought not be allowed to exceed an extent that most people would say is acceptable.

    It should be noted that industries that extract carbon-laden material from the earth for use as fossil fuels can be charged extraction fees that incorporate this pollution fee. This eliminates the need to surveil and collect from every end-user of the fuel. These users would pay the pollution fee as part of the cost of the fuel because the corporations would pass on the cost of the fee as part of the price they charge. Each user would feel additional incentive to seek low-energy alternatives if such a fee caused energy prices to rise, as it would. Also, producers of alternative energy would enjoy the higher energy prices as a benefit because they could sell their product for the higher price, too. This could be entirely enough to give the economy adequate incentive to transition toward a carbon-free economy. It will be enough if the people are sufficiently inclined to say: “pay us more money when you pollute”. Human nature being what it is, I suspect that people would be inclined to say that industries should pay the people more for use of natural resources.

    http://gaiabrain.blogspot.com/2007/09

  • John Hepworth

    Dear Bill,
    Congratulations on a superb interview with Naomi Klein…yes…the key Denial and Complacency Factors !!!…the English philosopher Francis Bacon observed

    “He who would not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator”.

    …..downright bizarre as it may seem, when someone now tries to alert their fellow citizens “Hey Pay attention ! THIS-is-DIFFERENT !!” their words
    produce only puzzlement in many hearers, so completely have we been taken hostage by a Consumer Age mindset that has worked
    diligently and tirelessly to induce in us a sense that- from now on nothing will ever really change- except for new and better gadgets! – and that consuming and relaxation are the Order of the Day…

    ..so hurricanes mean Bonus-Vacation-Time and little else in such a parallel universe !!!….

    Benjamin Barber explores this phenomenon brilliantly in his book “CONSUMED – How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole”…… and describes how decades of honing this market-driven wishful thinking worldview is now returning to “bite us”…..

    As you discussed in your interview with Naomi we appear to find ourselves transported, Wizard of Oz-like, to a “land” where problems have the disconcerting habit of “melting like lemon drops” for many of our fellow citizens !!….They have a hard time wrapping its heads around the idea that anything could – at this pinnacle of civilization we have arrived at :) – ….possibly go wrong. Think of someone from the fire department attempting to convince a tenant via telephone that their building is in danger of exploding because of an impending gas leak, only to be realize that they are dealing with a person who cannot grasp the meaning of the words “gas leak”, “explode” and “building”…..So the bad news is that the very idea THAT THINGS HAVE FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED and will now CONTINUE TO CHANGE AT AN ACCELERATING PACE (!!) can seem so fantastic for some people as to be downright laughable – material for Romney’s stand up comic routine at the Republican convention and little else….. Eerily enough the statement “This-is-Different” delivered in the context of today’s super heated-up, Consumer Fantasy Culture becomes …. INCOMPREHENSIBLE …a sort of gibberish.

    As a result urgent warnings about the catastrophic and ruinous transformation of the planet …..OR the re-engineering of the social, economic and political structures of nation states so radical – (see the innocuous sounding, “trade agreements”) that sed “nation states” are ceasing to exist except on paper….(and, not incidentally, nations whose social safety nets are being zealously dismantled thanks in no small part to decidedly imaginative, PR language touches such as “fiscal cliff”) ….….so all these crucial developments become SO INCONCEIVABLE to many people as to seem positively heretical within today’s “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” culture ….and of course this is most emphatically the case for the economic power elite who passionately espouse a self-serving, libertarian free market, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil “gospel”.

    But now THE PARADOXICAL GOOD NEWS …..the jaw-dropping Super Storm of two weeks ago has pulverized this elaborate, market-driven fantasy world for a HUGE number of people….for many that fiction has now been decisively laid to rest ……and I agree with Naomi that the spectacular Storm-from-Hell Super Storm helped Obama win his re-election….I also believe that it will definitely help those of us who are determined to hold the feet of politicians “to the fire” whenever climate change legislation is concerned.

    In conclusion let me say Bill, that you and all the guests on your program that share their insights with us week after week, are to be congratulated for passing with flying colors Rudyard Kipling’s emphatically existential quiz “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing their’s and blaming it on you…..”. Please keep up the great and inspiring work !

    John Hepworth

    P. S. I would love to see Benjamin Barber interviewed on your show and hear some of his thoughts about our current situation.

  • David F., N.A.

    Great interview! I’ve been a big fan of Naomi Klein and her husband, Avi Lewis, for a long time. Their documentary, “The Take,” really opened my eyes to the effects of outsourcing jobs. The way outsourcing had hurt Argentina, 11 or 12 years ago, is now hurting the U.S. in the exact same manner, only on a much larger scale. I highly recommend watching this one.

    “Occupy.”
    “Resist.”
    “Produce.”

    “THE TAKE”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQHo8l92U3U

  • Kirt Griffin

    The study to which you referred found 97% of the scientists felt that the warming was real and mostly man made. They sent out 13,000+ surveys and whittled it down to 75 out of 77 that believed. That is your 99.7%. Doesn’t sound too impressive when you have the data. Compare that to the Oregon petition where 31,000 scientists did not believe man had any significant effect. Then look at the temperature data. They take the raw data and adjust the urban values up. They then take the rural data and bring it up to the adjusted urban data. The weather we are having is typical of a planet descending into a mini ice age. It is the Sun that controls our climate and weather. The IPCC decided the Sun could not be responsible based on the opinion of one solar scientist, Judith Lean, based on her own paper which was terribly flawed. We are going to need all the power we can get to stay warm and you guys think it is OK to scrap significant energy sources for a scam. It will be the young people of today that will likely live just long enough to regret their uninformed positions. If you don’t think the Sun can control our climate, just see what happens when we have no sunspot activity for a decade or more.

  • Rationalist

    You should read “Atlas Shrugged” John.

    Not that it’s accurate or propheitc, but it describes what happens when people who make a living off taxpayers are suddenly in charge of picking winners and losers. Since those well-meaning beaurocrats have never had to live in a world where bad decisons or picking losers gets them fired, they tend to pick a lot of losers with your money (like Solyndra), and they also tend to pick their friends to give your money to (like the Oligarcs that were made wealthy as the USSR imploded).

    Can I move to a place where people who make stuff that people want are allowed to keep what they earn? Lets say you raise beets and I hate those, so If I don’t like what you do for a living, shouldn’t I be able to get the govt. to give your salary to say… my brother-in law, since he has 12 kids? Will you keep raising beets? I think that’s what you are suggesting…..

    You really think putting our fates in the hands of professional politicians is the right answer? Did you ever wonder why most enter public service from the middle class and leave as millionaires?
    I think we can do better when consumers decide who wins and loses.

  • http://twitter.com/marcdalio Marc Dalio

    Outstanding as always. Naomi Klein is indeed one of our greatest thinkers and leaders. Thanks to Moyers and Co. for amplifying her voice. This is what we need more of from our media.

  • Ricardo

    there is a politically responsible party addressing this issue! it’s color and name are one and the same, but we keep choosing between the two evils..

  • Anonymous

    Naomi Klein is eloquent as usual and Bill Moyers brings his sane approach to the subject, unfortunately they are preaching to the converted. Bill needs to take his show on the road, across the bible belt and speak to people directly. The problem with liberals is that they are a bit elitist, they assume everyone has the required education & background to understand complex issues like climate change, they also need to take into account people’s belief (ie earth is 6000 years old) and instead of going off topic and into an argument about faith, use scripture to bring people on board.

  • ClubofRomeCreation

    People actually still buy this nonsense? The climate is changing(as it always has), pay the ruling elite money and they’ll make it better? Naomi Klien’s parents were members of the communist party in the soviet union, anyone know what collectavism did for those people?

  • Concerned

    Climate change is here and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy needs to be the starting gun for the fight against climate disaster capitalism. Hopefully even the plutocrats can now at least “do the math”, wake up to the fact that we are on the same planet and need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground. Standing ovation for Naomi Klein.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/06/hurricane-sandy-americas-disaster-capitalists

  • Anonymous

    This is simply the most brilliant and concise analysis of this complex problem to date.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.scully Terry Scully

    The FED is electronically printing money…Can we say,”Viemar Republic”?
    Just Google,”Economic policy Third Reich” Just update the names and dates and you have the current U.S. federal govt. situation.

  • Joan

    This is the parallel. My will and my free spirit are framed and informed and may I say “shaped and glorified” by my physical being. In an identical way does the nature of our planet frame and inform, shape and glorify the individuals who live in it. If I smoke, eat too much or not enough or eat polluted food, or sit too much rather than walk, I have to constrain my will and my freedom in order to live with and within a healthy body. In the same way if we humans want to live in a natural world we have to constrain our many greedy desires, and some of our freedoms. I call it Environmental Democracy. The natural world in which we also “live and move and have our being”. Or where we have our Life, our Freedom and our search for Happiness”.

  • tortuga15

    Ms. Klein is amazing and a wonderful advocate for our

    country. I have another thought; We have 4 electrical

    posts around the world called H.A.A.R.P. They conduct

    electrical currents with the use of the metals in the

    famous Chemtrails in the sky. A weatherman showed

    a flash on the map and then the weather swirled and

    tornadoes were born. Much is known about the manufacture of hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis.

    We have a project called http://www.Agenda21.com

    by the elites to rid the earth of 90% of the people on

    this earth. I know it sounds hard to believe but they

    admit it and call us “useless eaters”

    Carbon is an important element for our earth it is the

    basis of most things on Earth. Nitrogen is more

    plentiful in the atmosphere.

    The actions of H.A.A.R.P. have been HEATING up the

    atmosphere in a greater degree than anything that

    we the people could possibly do.

    Please check info. http://www.chemtrails.com

  • Lynne N

    I think this is a two edge sword. I would drive a hybrid, but I lost my job, and can’t get one that will allow me to afford one. Yes, I’m responsible, and only go out once a week, but there it is. I’m down for a movement here.

  • Sam

    Naomi claims that advocating and attempting to secure certain non-renewable energies is not the answer but the problem. Capitalism and the over abusive nature by the free market’s exploitation of resources is what has lead to the destruction and degradation of the environment in the first place. She argues that a direct approach to the root of these causes is the only logical and realistic way to solving this complex issue.

  • Lauren

    Naomi discusses how the problem of climate change has been personalized on an individual level but that it will not work. I agree that although individual citizens are recycling, changing lightbulbs and using green energy, the change that needs to occur must include the masses. Individuals themselves cannot bring about a change this large, our government must be involved. The issue of climate change is definitely an emergency issue and yet those in charge are slow to act. How far must the damage go before our leaders wake up?

  • Kaylee

    Naomi discusses in her short video, why
    climate change is so threatening to the people on the conservative end of the
    political spectrum? The climate crisis is a symptom of overpopulation as well
    as pollution, which is killing the ecosystem even faster than climate change. I
    do also believe that the change is not going to start by individual citizens
    recycling, changing light bulbs and using green energy is going to make the
    change. It is going to have to be mass amounts. We live in a world of change,
    and it is something we as citizens have to grasp.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bonnie-Sephris-Dominguez/100000685946282 Bonnie Sephris Dominguez

    To make people act, an incentive could be to have the media inform people about the CO2 emissions of their area. The media could set this up as a competition between cities, to see who can maintain lower emissions. It can be framed like a civil war competition between two college football teams. If the media appeals to American’s natural propensity to be competitive, we can make turning off lights more of an in game move. The media can inform the public of simple ways to help their local area beat the other team. Events and celebrations can be made to celebrate those cities that win in their state, for lowering their emissions the most. This would be a recurring segment that I would watch. Local news, I don’t follow you much, but if you did do this, I would.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gracie.roberts2 Gracie Roberts

    Naomi Klein presents a standpoint that is approachable, yet radical in its nature. Our country is in need of more people that are able to think in a level-headed manner about environmental issues, presenting them in comprehensible manner and inviting others to get behind their way of thinking. Naomi speaks about individuals who are unable to become part of the collective culture that is needed to make change in terms of providing a sustainable future on our planet. I appreciate her note about ‘the fossil fuel lobby’, or the large group of people that are preventing the issue of climate change from being the highest priority on America’s agenda. It’s important to realize that many individuals’ sets of moral values are determined simply by the company they work for — if their employer’s mission doesn’t look toward the well-being of the environment, then they as an employee probably won’t either. Klein has done her part by speaking about environmental activism on a public platform, and now it’s time for others to take a stand and figure out what their morals truly are in order to shape their future decisions.

  • http://twitter.com/sohlis Stefan Sohlstrom

    For the Green (or whatever we are calling it) Movement’s messages to actually start sticking on a permanent basis I think they have to stray away from those impending-sadness-despair-filled-Polar-Bears-Are-Dying, almost threat-like messages and take a happier, more joyous tack.

    This country’s first movements toward conservation happened because we celebrated the majesty and natural wonder this country can inspire. If we focus on that, the positive, and less on the interminable sadness I think people might be more likely to keep climate change in the back of their minds

  • http://twitter.com/FortierHenry Henry Fortier

    Naomi Klein presents a rather cyclical dilemma: environmental overhaul cannot start without a solid public sector, but most of the would-be major players are already removing themselves from the problems of the average citizen. They are doing this by securing their short-term future through private companies offering goods and services only offered through a capitalistic society. This in turn fuels capitalism, empowering corporations to continue to impose shortsighted economic plans and legislation on the marginalized lower classes.

    It seems like this is just the way things are until the management of the most powerful corporations in the world start to realize that their economic plans and the planet won’t coexist. Capitalism is based on growth, and corporations have been trying to expand their profit margins as much as possible. A shift in culture needs to happen. Capitalism is unsustainable and can only support a populace for a limited amount of time before it becomes bloated. The economy has taken precedent over everything else in this world, including humans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.teich.37 Michael Teich

    Dear Bill, I am wondering why I have never seen anyone write about, or criticize, the American Institute of Architects along with the architectural/construction community in general. I have been working as a designer, draftsman, project manager and unregistered architect since my first job, while a student at Texas A&M since 1983 and I sincerely believe that the title that you recently used for the bankers responsible for the Wall Street fiasco, “The Untouchables”, is equally valid for the leaders and movers of my professional community. Why do you think that there is never any in-depth reporting on what is one of the largest sectors of the global economy? I feel that my profession has been
    provided with immunity from public scrutiny for as long as I have been active in it. I would really like to do some in-depth research into this major issue that touches on most of the major issues of the day
    including climate change, rampant violence in our urban centers, global poverty, extreme inequalities between the haves and have-nots and many other
    issues, yet no one deems this to be a controversial subject with worldwide ramifications. Where do you recommend that I go, or who should I talk to, in
    order to get funding to research this major failure of my profession and the AIA? I sincerely believe that some light should be shed on this subject. Are you aware that according to the magazine Architectural Record/The AIA approximately one third of all architects, not including the multitude of people like me who have not been able to finance the licensing exams due to lack of money, have had to change professions in order to survive? Please note that I am only talking about architects so as you can imagine the story is much bigger than people imagine when you include engineers, contractors and sub-contractors. I would gladly fund all this research myself but I am currently unemployed and struggling to stay alive for the sake of my children who I have only seen, in person, twice over the last two and a half years. I am a member of a very large group of professionals who due to age and
    the past and continuing economic crisis, have been forgotten or perhaps ignored by the rest of the world. What do you recommend I do?

    Yours truly,
    Michael Teich

  • http://www.facebook.com/sailesh.rao Sailesh Rao

    Many South Africans that I spoke to don’t think that the university divestment movement made a dent in the South African apartheid regime. They point to the Reformed church’s declaration of apartheid as a Heresy as the key event that led to the crumbling of the apartheid regime.

  • ilfark2

    the first conservation movements happened so that rich folks would have places to hunt (esp TDR).

  • ilfark2

    Wiemar had a balance of payments problem… the Fed has been printing for years now, and no inflation; Krugman had a nice description of this (though i don’t agree with his prescriptions).

  • ilfark2

    so how do you keep the rich from rigging the system, making oligopolies and monopolies, as has always happened in the past, in market economies? how do you keep the referee from getting purchased?

  • http://www.facebook.com/carolyn.caffrey Carolyn Caffrey

    The next question is crucial: does the President want to get innovations and ideas from the people who’ll be living them…or just have folks available as a “civic army” of salespeople for his plans, devised without their meaningful input. The difference is HUGE! And I still don’t think they get it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelsey.jewett.50 Kelsey Jewett

    Naomi is a great spokeswomen for the deep problem we are all facing. “Shock Doctrine” revealed the forces behind the curtain causing much of our recent global economic and political struggles. These forces don’t seem to be changing their goals or strategy .

    If we continue on this path we are facing the real possibility of runaway global warming. If we imagine our world 10, 50,100 or 1000 years in the future it might not be a pretty picture. Given the projected global population increase, continuing economic development in the third world and our unwillingness to take decisive inaction; could be a serious shock.

    A shock large enough to extinguish humanity and most life on Earth. Perhaps that possibility is large enough to get global cooperation and immediate action.

    Mass extension on Earth has happened five times in our past; most recently 65 thousand years ago when dinosaurs went extent and small mammels survived.

    Mars once had water and a atmosphere. What happened there mustn’t happen to Earth. This is our beautiful blue marbel. Let’s keep it for a while.

  • Frank

    There are 24 peer reviewed articles that reject climate change. The problem is, there’s 13,950 that do not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.plath Andrew Plath

    All politicians of both parties cannot see beyond the limits of their term. Global warming takes too long to show how it can be reality to most folks.

  • AllTogetherNow

    It’s important to understand the role of the media in keeping people undecided about climate change. The media depends for its living on corporate sponsors. Corporate sponsors depend on maximizing their profits, including NOT having to pay the fossil-carbon-dioxide-in-the-atmosphere costs (“externalities” – costs they pass on to us, to drought and flood victims, to future generations) results of their current practices. The media (who are also corporations) will not risk offending their advertisers by taking a stand on climate change. We can’t wait form them to get on side. We have to get ourselves on side – together. We have to demand that our education systems get on side. We have to make many decisions in our lives that show what we’re willing to put up with and what we’re not. It’s work. It’s going to be work for a long time. Women didn’t wait for the media to write about giving them the vote. Black Americans didn’t wait for the media to say they should have equal rights. Women didn’t wait for the media to say they should earn equal pay and have equal job opportunities as men. History shows us that change happens only when people get together, speak out, and profoundly change what they do and expect.

  • AllTogetherNow

    Much farther than we should be willing to let it. Naomi was clear about the huge investment by the fossil fuel industries in distributing misleading information about fuels, carbon emissions, scientific accuracy, and the idea that there is no “consensus” on whether or not climate change is happening. They also spend vast amounts of money supporting political candidates, and lobbying to avoid regulation. Our political leaders won’t wake up until we become our own leaders in this cause. We need to follow people like Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Annie Leonard, James Hanesn and work out how to redesign our cities, cut down our use of fossil fuels, move to cleaner renewable energy, educate our children on how to create a sustainable future, eat more locally, consume less stuff, and build a new kind of economy that doesn’t extract the life from our planet. If we get together, we might even have more fun!

  • AllTogetherNow

    Thanks for all your good work. You might like this piece from The Ecologist on building “regenerative cities” – creating the Ecopolis:

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2000416/ecopolis_the_emergence_of_regenerative_cities.html

  • Anonymous

    Most participants in student lunch counter sit-ins suggest that “it was like a fever” when sit-ins spread through the Deep South. Research, however, shows that they spread through patient organizing. Both are true in that it was strategically useful to tell the story of spontaneous spread. Both cognitive/emotional and structural factors are critical in any fight for freedom.

  • Sue Em

    While Alltogethernow makes a good point about how to find a media outlet for this might be problematic, I think your idea is brilliant! Sadly even making this into a TV Reality show would sure get a great audience. Take note TLC!