The No Logo talks about solutions to the , , birth strikes and how she finds hope

Australia

Why are you publishing this book now?
I still feel that the way that we talk about climate change is too compartmentalised, too siloed from the crises we face. A rey strong theme through the book is the links between it and the crisis of rising , the various forms of and the that so many people are being forced from their homelands, and the that is wd on our attention spans. These are intersecting and interconnecting crises and so the solutions have to be as well.

The book collects essays from the last decade, have you changed your about anything?
When I look back, I dont think I placed enough emphasis on the chenge climate change poses to the left. Its more obvious the way the chenges a rightwing dominant view, and the cult of centrism that never wants to do anything big, thats always looking to split the difference. But this is also a chenge to a left view that is essentiy only interested in istributing the spoils of etrivism [the process of etring natural resources from the earth] and not reckoning with the limits of endless consumption.

Whats stopping the left doing this?
In a n contet, its the greatest taboo of to uy admit that are going to be limits. You see that in the way Fo s has gone after the Deal they are coming after your hamburgers! It cuts to the heart of the American dream every generation gets more than the last, is always a frontier to epand to, the whole idea of settler colonial nations like ours. When somebody comes a and says, uy, are limits, weve got some tough decisions, we need to figure out how to man whats left, weve got to share equitably it is a psychic attack. And so the [on the left] has been to avoid, and say no, no, were not coming to take away your stuff, are going to be kinds of benefits. And are going to be benefits: well have more livable cities, well have less polluted r, well spend less time stuck in traffic, we can happier, richer lives in so many ways. But we are going to have to contr on the endless, disposable consumption .

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Covering Climate Now: how more than 250 srooms are joining forces this week to spotlight the

author

Hunds of srooms around the are banding together this week to commit their ps and r time to what may be the most consequential story of our time: the climate .

As ers descend on for the UNClimate Action Summit on 23 September and millions of ivists prepare for a global climate strike on 20 September the media partnership Covering Climate Now is launching its large-scale collaboration to increase climate cover in the global media and focus public attention on this .

is the partner in Covering Climate Now, which was founded this year by the Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation. The partnership currently s 250 srooms representing 32 with a combined monthly reach of more than a billion people.

The net represents every corner of the media including nets (CBS s, Al Jazeera), spapers (El Pas, the Toronto Star), digital s (BuzzFeed, , Vo), wire services (Getty Ims, Bloomberg), magazines (Nature, ), and dozens of podcasts, local publishers, and stations. You can learn more about the initiativehere.

Do you feel encourd by talk of the Deal?
I feel a tremendous ecitement and a sense of relief, that we are finy talking about solutions on the scale of the crisis we face. That were not talking about a little carbon ta or a cap and trade scheme as a silver bullet. Were talking about transforming our economy. This sy is fling the majority of people anyway, which is why were in this period of such profound political destabilisation that is giving us the Trumps and the Breits, and of these strongman ers so why dont we figure out how to change everything from bottom to top, and do it in a way that ades of these crises at the same time? is every chance we will miss the mark, but every frion of a degree ming that we are able to hold off is a victory and every policy that we are able to win that makes our societies more e, the more we will weather the inevitable shocks and s to come without slipping into barbarism. Because what rey terrifies me is what we are seeing at our borders in and and I dont think its coincidental that the settler colonial states and the that are the engines of that are at the forefront of this. We are seeing the beginnings of the era of climate barbarism. We saw it in Christchurch, we saw it in El Paso, where you have this marrying of white supremacist violence with vicious anti-immigrant racism.

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A fire near Porto Velho, Brazil, September 2019. Photograph: Bruno Kelly/Reuters

That is one of the most chilling sections of your book: I think thats a link a lot of people havent made.
This pattern has been clear for a while. White supremacy emerged not just because people felt like thinking up ideas that were going to get a lot of people killed but because it was useful to protect barbaric but highly profitable actions. The age of scientific racism begins alongside the transatlantic slave trade, it is a rationale for that brutality. If we are going to respond to climate change by fortressing our borders, then of course the theories that would justify that, that create these hierarchies of humanity, will come surging back. There have been signs of that for years, but it is getting harder to deny because you have killers who are screaming it from the rooftops.

One criticism you hear about the environment movement is that it is dominated by white people. How do you address that?
When you have a movement that is overwhelmingly representative of the most privileged sector of society then the approach is going to be much more fearful of change, because people who have a lot to lose tend to be more fearful of change, whereas people who have a lot to gain will tend to fight harder for it. Thats the big benefit of having an approach to climate change that links it to those so called bread and butter issues: how are we going to get better paid jobs, affordable housing, a way for people to take care of their families? I have had many conversations with environmentalists over the years where they seem really to believe that by linking fighting climate change with fighting poverty, or fighting for racial justice, its going to make the fight harder. We have to get out of this my crisis is bigger than your crisis: first we save the planet and then we fight poverty and racism, and violence against women. That doesnt work. That alienates the people who would fight hardest for change. This debate has shifted a huge amount in the US because of the leadership of the climate justice movement and because it is congresswomen of colour who are championing the Green New Deal.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib come from communities that have gotten such a raw deal under the years of neoliberalism and longer, and are determined to represent, truly represent, the interests of those communities. Theyre not afraid of deep change because their communities desperately need it.

In the book, you write: The hard truth is that the answer to the question What can I, as an individual, do to stop climate change? is: nothing. Do you still believe that?
In terms of the carbon, the individual decisions that we make are not going to add up to anything like the kind of scale of change that we need. And I do believe that the fact that for so many people its so much more comfortable to talk about our own personal consumption, than to talk about systemic change, is a product of neoliberalism, that we have been trained to see ourselves as consumers first. To me thats the benefit of bringing up these historical analogies, like the New Deal or the Marshall Plan it brings our minds back to a time when we were able to think of change on that scale. Because weve been trained to think very small. It is incredibly significant that Greta Thunberg has turned her life into a living emergency.

Yes, she set sail for the UN climate summit in New York on a zero carbon yacht …
Exactly. But this isnt about what Greta is doing as an individual. Its about what Greta is broadcasting in the choices that she makes as an activist, and I absolutely respect that. I think its magnificent. She is using the power that she has to broadcast that this is an emergency, and trying to inspire politicians to treat it as an emergency. I dont think anybody is exempt from scrutinising their own decisions and behaviours but I think it is possible to overemphasise the individual choices. I have made a choice and this has been true since I wrote No Logo, and I started getting these what should I buy, where should I shop, what are the ethical clothes? questions. My answer continues to be that I am not a lifestyle adviser, I am not anyones shopping guru, and I make these decisions in my own life but Im under no illusion that these decisions are going to make the difference.

Some people are choosing to go on birth strikes. What do you think about that?
Im happy these discussions are coming into the public domain as opposed to being furtive issues were afraid to talk about. Its been very isolating for people. It certainly was for me. One of the reasons I waited as long as I did to try and get pregnant, and I would say this to my partner all the time what, you want to have a Mad Max water warrior fighting with their friends for food and water? It wasnt until I was part of the climate justice movement and I could see a path forward that I could even imagine having a kid. But I would never tell anybody how to answer this most intimate of questions. As a feminist who knows the brutal history of forced sterilisation and the ways in which womens bodies become battle zones when policymakers decide that they are going to try and control population, I think that the idea that there are regulatory solutions when it comes to whether or not to have kids is catastrophically ahistorical. We need to be struggling with our climate grief together and our climate fears together, through whatever decision we decide to make, but the discussion we need to have is how do we build a world so that those kids can have thriving, zero-carbon lives?

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The Malizia II, with Greta Thunberg on board, arrives in Hudson Harbor, New York. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

Over the summer, you encouraged people to read Richard Powerss novel, The Overstory. Why?
Its been incredibly important to me and Im happy that so many people have written to me since. What
Powers is writing about trees: that trees live in communities and are in communication, and plan and react together, and weve been completely wrong in the way we conceptualise them. Its the same conversation were having about whether we are going to solve this as individuals or whether we are going to save the collective organism. Its also rare, in good fiction, to valorise activism, to treat it with real respect, failures and all, to acknowledge the heroism of the people who put their bodies on the line. I thought Powers did that in a really extraordinary way.

What are you views on what Extinction Rebellion has achieved?
One thing they have done so well is break us out of this classic campaign model we have been in for a long time, where you tell someone something scary, you ask them to click on something to do something about it, you skip out the whole phase where we need to grieve together and feel together and process what it is that we just saw. Because what I hear a lot from people is, ok, maybe those people back in the 1930s or 40s could organise neighbourhood by neighbourhood or workplace by workplace but we cant. We believe weve been so downgraded as a species that we are incapable of that. The only thing that is going to change that belief is getting face to face, in community, having experiences, off our screens, with one another on the streets and in nature, and winning some things and feeling that power.

You talk about stamina in the book. How do you keep going? Do you feel hopeful?
I have complicated feelings about the hope question. Not a day goes by that I dont have a moment of sheer panic, raw terror, complete conviction that we are doomed, and then I do pull myself out of it. Im renewed by this new generation that is so determined, so forceful. Im inspired by the willingness to engage in electoral politics, because my generation, when we were in our 20s and 30s, there was so much suspicion around getting our hands dirty with electoral politics that we lost a lot of opportunities. What gives me the most hope right now is that weve finally got the vision for what we want instead, or at least the first rough draft of it. This is the first time this has happened in my lifetime. And also, I did decide to have kids. I have a seven year old who is so completely obsessed and in love with the natural world. When I think about him, after weve spent an entire summer talking about the role of salmon in feeding the forests where he was born in British Columbia, and how they are linked to the health of the trees and the soil and the bears and the orcas and this entire magnificent ecosystem, and I think about what it would be like to have to tell him that there are no more salmon, it kills me. So that motivates me. And slays me.

Naomi Klein will be in conversation with Katharine Viner at a Guardian Live event on 15 October.



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