On Fire: Naomi Klein’s book is a time-series of the shift from climate denial to nihilism to Green New Deal hope

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My latest LA Times book review is for Naomi Klein’s new essay collection, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, which traces more than a decade of Klein’s outstanding, on-the-ground reports from the pivotal struggle to begin the transformational work needed to save our species and the rest of the Earth’s living things from a devastating, eminently foreseeable, and ultimately avoidable climate catastrophe.

Klein’s essays trace the arc from denialism, through to peak indifference (the moment at which denialism begins to wane of its own accord, thanks to waves of disaster that convince doubters without any intervention by activists), to nihilism (“if there’s only one rhino left, we might as well find out what he tastes like”), to hope, in the form of the Green New Deal (a successor to Klein’s own Leap Manifesto) and the Extinction Rebellion movement, along with its extraordinary founder, the Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg.

It’s strong tonic for a moment in which it’s all too easy to despair. Highly recommended.

The boldly ecstatic vision of climate justice — a Green New Deal that gives every person meaningful, full employment in solidarity work and mutual aid that saves our planet from our species and saves our species from itself — is a powerful tonic, an antidote to despair.

In “On Fire,” Klein shines a spotlight on a world in crisis, illuminating the terrible (the Great Barrier Reef, finally dying after years of inaction, despite urgent warnings); and the inspiring (the people of Puerto Rico soldiering on despite hurricanes, official neglect, structural racism and a state hollowed out by colonialism).

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