“Don`t look away!” Naomi shouts at me through the writings of her book and slaps my face, “Wake up and don´t deny that the climate change is happening!”
I have to say that Naomi Klein´s book This Changes Everything is one of the most important books I have ever read. And it is one of these books I would recommend to every single human being I know. It does change everything. Like Naomi describes in the beginning of her book, she writes that she has denied climate change for longer than she can care to admit, and this fact goes for me as well. She also writes:
“We look at the problem for a split second and then we look away. “
And many of us engage in this kind of climate change denial. She has definitely put me on alert and shaken me awake and forced me to see what I have known for a long time. I have seen the problems of climate change in Siberia, the north of Dalarna, Kazakhstan, England and many other places. What has happened in this world the last 50 years are great changes. And what has taken place globally since the end of the 1990´s has basically divided the world in to distinct parts. Those few who have money and power and those many who have not. And the gap is growing every day and unfortunately it is these few reckless and selfish people who have the money and the power who have made most of us look away from this painful truth. Yes, that we are loosing the battle to leave a healthy globe for generations to come. We know it is there, this massive problem, but we look away. We have bought the advertisment from those few with the money and power who either tells us that the climate change is a communist hoax or, since we already have lost the battel, so who cares, better to live as good as we can now. Which for them is the world of the priviliged. Forget about the rest. We believe and turn away. That is how good they are. I know they exist, since I know quite a few of them. They´re generally nice people, but wealthy and priviliged and therefore doesn´t have the ability to see the suffering of others. And, for their own sake, they need to deny these problems existing.
What I have seen first hand of this existing situation is from the perspective of the indigenous people globally. It is very clear, without any doubt, that they are run over by those who want to use their land to make more money by fracking, searching for oil and gas, and whilst they are at it, steal their land and historical rights to fish and hunt. If anyone dares to protest, they claim they do this better they´re standard of living. But they haven´t asked for help and they are way worse off today then ever. Having a car, living in a permanent neighborhood with one or more stores full of junk food and owning a TV is not a sign of a higher standard of living. On the contrary. For example, I have travelled through the coldest inhabited land on earth, Yakutia, an area which has seen dramatic changes the last 20 years and it is getting worse by the day. The people I travelled, the most wonderful Evenyreindeer herders, they have done this journey, with reindeer, in the coldest time of the year, back and forth from their settlement called Arkah to Oymyakon. The do it for many reasons, but first of all for grazing for the reindeer and for stocking up on food, visiting relatives and getting som financial help. But, due to the drastic change in weather patterns, it has become much more difficult and there´s a major threat it will stop soon, forever. Another historical human story meeting its death. What has happened is that the ice is getting thinner, they travel a lot on rivers and lakes, since it is easier and faster. but this new weather patterns is making travel dangerous. On top of that, and this is not the normal cycle of nature, but on and off, not just once during the coldest part of the winter, but far too often, temperatures rises dramatically in a day. From -60 to almost around zero degrees. What happens is that the layer of snow closest to the ground melts and when it freezes up again, that layer has turned into ice. It makes it impossible for the reindeer to access their food. So many starve to death. Unfortunately, very few cares about these people and they are the one´s who are most likely to get run over by the state, the politicians and the money hungry oil and gas people. This fact is causing not only the indigenous people ruin, but for all of us.
Naomi Klein´s book is no easy read. One has to take a chapter a day and slowly digest it. It is full of information on each page, but it is still very well researched and warm book, where Naomi at times uses herself and what she goes through in life to make us fully understand. Like for example the many miscarriages she had to endure leads to her to finally understand that miscarriages is part of all living organisms, not just for human beings. And modern society and its stress, extreme hard work and focus on money and materialism, this is a major factor of the big problem. A lot of her deeper knowledge and conclusions comes from spending a lot of time with the indigenous people of the North American north, the so called First Nations. I have believed for at least the last ten years that the knowledge of the indigenous people around, especially the sensitive people like the Yukagihrs of Siberia, holds the answer for the future for all of us, due to their historically effective sustainable living.
I think the most important point I take with me from the book is the positive aspects she ends the book with. Namely all these groups of people who once again are standing up and fighting back at these selfish money and power hungry people, like for example Occupy Wall Street and native groups all over the world slowly getting their winning ways back. I have long ago realized that it is the simple, slow and sustainable way of the indigenous people, like the Yukagihrs or Eveny of Siberia, where we human beings have the knowledge how to manage life. And which would mean that we can offer future generations a globe as fantastic as the one we have now. So, like these new movements who are getting stronger by te day, we have to stand up against these few conglomerates and giant corporations who´s only God is the dollar. We have to fight back. We have to expose these people. We have to educate our children and the rest of the world how the reality actually is. Plundering the world of oil, gas and such stuff, how can that ever be good? It just doesn´t make any sense. How can anyone today, still believe like Dick Cheney and his mates, that humankind are stronger than nature? Damn Francis Bacon who started this movement on conquering the world!
With this in mind, if I look at my own genre, exploration, documentary, travel, adventure or whatever one wants to call it, we need to change as well. We have to change the worst cases of sponsored hysteria who´s only reason really is to put the lime light on oneself. Sure, I understand that it creates more interest, a personal story, than not. But we need to add another component. Activism. Observational style. We have to include issues of exposing the real state of our world. Its people. And their surrounding. And point out the gap between rich and poor -look at England- the loss of culture, compassion and a sustainable way of life. We need to show people that it is time to stand up against these few who think they can conquer nature.
I will try my best to do my part. On the private side, I have no car. The family and me walk everywhere if possible. We don´t eat meat, drink very little milk and eat a couple of eggs a week. We have very few material things except books and work tools. We don´t use much heating in the flat. And we don´t shower excessivly. We do try to do our part on this little level as well. I personally thank my time in Moss Side for this change of attitude in myself. For the better I think.