Canadian author inspires ‘This Changes Everything’ conference in London

Author and Journalist Naomi Klein’s latest book ‘This Changes Everything’ inspired a conference of the same name held yesterday in London, where campaigners, politicians and climate scientists were invited to discuss how capitalism and the climate crisis will take centre stage in 2015.

The book, published in September 2014 and debuted at number five on The New York Times Best-seller List, is a non-fiction title which exposes the many “myths” surrounding the climate debate and how a non-fossil fuel economy would be a sustainable solution.

Three weeks after a national climate demonstration here in the UK, the conference hosted engaging interactive workshops for its hundreds of attendees on building a social and global movement, in preparation of the upcoming UN climate summit to be held in
Paris this December.

John Hilary, executive director of human rights and global poverty group, War on Want said it was a “complete privilege” to be asked to speak at the conference: “The event was most important in deepening people’s understanding of the structural, systemic challenge that faces the climate justice movement. I think most people who attended were already convinced of the need for action on climate change.”

Co-organiser of the conference at London’s Friends Meeting House Neil Faulkner, of political discussion community, Brick Lane Debates said that even though there is a huge
need for education on the “deep crisis” of capitalism, he also suggests a mass movement would be a clear alternative, declaring resources spent on advertising, luxuries of the rich and the “so-called” financial services industry  is a waste of expenditure: “We
need a completely re-modelled economy which is both conforming to human need
and is also conforming to planet need”, he said: “We have to think of an alternative to the existing to the economic, social and political border and that has to be based on the equality and democracy, and that is the only conceivable alternative to it.”

Other speakers included Klein herself making an appearance via video link, leader of
the UK Green Party Natalie Bennett, Nigerian environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey and
comedian and campaigner Russell Brand, among others.

As well as receiving critical acclaim from journalists and environmentalists across the globe, Klein has also been subject to scrutiny, most notably by Mark Jaccard from Literary Review Canada. Jaccard’s 2014 article suggests Klein never “elaborated” on important differences and that she only looked at evidence that “supports her agenda, and distorts or ignores any technology, policy or jurisdiction that contradicts her argument”.

Klein’s book is part of a ‘This Changes Everything’ multi-platform project, also
consisting of a documentary from film-maker Avi Lewis, due for release this Fall. Filmed across Canada, the US, Greece, India, El Salvador and China, the three-year project reflects on the themes proposed by Klein, as well as using people on the ‘front lines of change’ to illustrate possible economic alternatives.