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On Fire by Naomi Klein
On Fire by Naomi Klein  

An impassioned anthology of the author's evidence-based pleas to alleviate climate change. In her latest book, Klein presents pieces, some of which have been updated, from 2010 to 2019. Whether revised or not, most still resonate; the masterful, newly composed, 53-page introduction alone is worth the cover price.

What separates Klein from many other advocates for a Green New Deal is her balanced combination of idealism and politics-based realism. The idealism shines through as she discusses the need for systemic change across the globe. The realism becomes apparent as she explains the huge obstacles to progressive policies put in place by elected politicians, private-sector corporate leaders and omnipresent lobbyists, most of whom rarely care about the overarching public interest and can spend money at will to further their agendas.

Throughout her urgent essays, Klein lucidly expresses her incredulity that huge swaths of humanity fail to recognize the critical nature of our current climate crisis. She believes that mass destruction will occur during many readers' lifetimes, with their children and grandchildren suffering even greater losses. Alterations in individual behaviors--if enough individuals willingly participate--can lead to short-term alleviation, but long-term systemic change must follow immediately. The author's most compelling extended example is the account of how 15-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden has influenced countless people to join in her advocacy. Listening to Thunberg speak about how our collective climate inaction had nearly stolen her will to live seemed to help others feel the fire of survival in their own bellies," writes Klein. The author also explores historical instances of systemic change to determine if the New Deal proposed by Franklin Roosevelt serves as the most appropriate analogy for the currently circulating Green New Deal. Klein wisely ranges beyond the U.S. and her native Canada when presenting evidence and explaining obstacles.

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