This Changes Everything: Climate Change vs. Capitalism

 In WCS Blog
By Maria Ava
​The nightmare of global warming and climate change is usually blamed on pollution from vehicles and manufacturing. However, what many concerned with climate change fail to realize is that capitalism as a system is the driving force behind these sources of pollution. Without capitalism, there would be no impetus for mass production. Therefore, capitalism is the cause of climate change, while pollution is the symptom — or so argues Naomi Klein’s new movie, This Changes Everything, in which she documents everyday people and the impact capitalism and climate change has on their lives.

Personal stories of capitalism’s impact 

This Changes Everything, which is now available for viewing via various local channels and screenings, is based on Klein’s book of the same name. Directed by Avi Lewis of The Take, the movie focuses on everything from oil drilling to the fashion industry to show how the lives of all are directly impacted by climate change brought on by capitalistic ventures.
 
Narrated by Klein, the movie takes viewers around the world, including locations in Greece, Canada, and Montana in the United States, to show how companies are exploiting the environment and how regular people are fighting back. The film includes interviews with several people around the globe, including:

  • Crystal. As a young leader of her native people in the Tar Sands country of Alberta, Canada, Crystal leads the fight for access to information that she believes the government is keeping quiet about the environmental impact of activities at a secured military facility.
  • Alexis. Along with her husband, Mike, this Montana goat rancher suffers the direct effects of a broken oil pipeline on their land. Now, Alexis is fighting back by joining with the Northern Cheyenne tribe to stop oil companies from destroying the Powder River Basin and to bring solar power to the area.
  • Melachrini. This housewife in Greece has been devastated by the economic crisis in that country. Unfortunately, the mining and drilling companies are using these problems to justify the destruction of beautiful and historic lands. Melachrini fights back by organizing her fellow Grecians to combat this exploitation.
  • Jyothi. This lovely woman from Andhra Pradesh, India, has a beautiful singing voice that disguises her true grit and determination in fighting a power plant fueled by coal whose owners want to locate in a nearby wetland. 

The role of women in This Changes Everything

​Naomi Klein has been noted as a powerful journalist and activist in the battle over climate change. However, until This Changes Everything, her projects have been tightly focused, such as her work on The Take, which documented the struggles of Argentinian mine workers. Now, she not only takes on a global concern but focuses on how regular women from all walks of life are making a big difference in the climate change battle.
 
This is particularly apt considering the stake that women have in the issue of climate change. As Klein points out, climate change is not limited to one group of people or country. If things do not change, the entire world will be affected, even those who choose to ignore the growing problem. Through her film, Klein gives these women a voice with which to speak to the world. Their determination to see real change in their own locations translates into a clear message: anyone, in any place, can have a positive impact on the fight against climate change.
 
Klein shows us in This Changes Everything that not only does our voice matter but that we can, if we choose, take real and meaningful action to change the course of the world and save the planet from those who would destroy it. While the film is somewhat short on ideas for specific alternatives to capitalism, it offers plenty of food for thought for anyone seeking to understand how we got where we are today and what the future may hold for the climate.

As Klein has shown in her various works of activism, women are always able to find their place in a male-dominated society and make a difference that changes the world for the better. You, too, can find various ways to increase awareness about the degradation of the environment and fight back. Even the smallest actions can lead to great transformations. What will you do to have a positive impact on our world?

Maria Ava is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

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