Is there a link between capitalism and climate change? Author Naomi Klein addressed that question in the film, This Changes Everything, which is based on her book of the same name. According to most experts, the industrial nations produce the emissions that produce the greenhouse effect and rising sea levels yet it’s the third world countries that are most impacted.
Can this be changed? Perhaps opinions are already changing as we see 2015 slated to be the hottest year on record. Find out for yourself when you decide to tackle climate change for your next research paper.
This Changes Everything
Hurricane Katrina and then superstorm Sandy were a wakeup call for many regarding the reality of climate change. Ninety mile-an-hour winds in New York City could not be ignored. More recently scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report stating that July 2015 was the single warmest month in history.
In an October 5, 2015, interview with Amy Goodman for DemocracyNow.org, “Naomi Klein & Avi Lewis: Climate Change Could Be Catalyst to Build a Fairer Economic System,” Klein and the film’s director Avi Lewis explained changing opinions on climate change.
According to Klein, what drives climate change is an economic system that is based on extracting wealth from poor countries and leaving them to pay the price. What is changing is the reality that the “zone of sacrifice” has grown to include industrialized societies as well. Often this “zone” is defined along racial lines. A case in point was Hurricane Katrina where we saw a sluggish response in providing aid yet a quick ability to convert public housing into condos.
Another example of how climate change and capitalism are linked is the recent fires in California where as many as half of the firefighters were prison inmates who were paid only two dollars a day. Klein asserts that efforts at prison reform are being opposed by forces that are worried about the impact on the states’ supply of firefighters.
“This is what it looks like to try to deal with climate change within an economic context of what around the world is called neoliberalism, relentless austerity, which—you know, one of the impacts of relentless austerity is increased incarceration, locking up and locking out the people who are losing within this economic system,” Klein explained.
Consequences of climate change
Many societies around the world depend on their local environment in order to survive. Farming, fishing and ranching all depend on optimal weather conditions and temperatures to provide nature’s bounty. But climate change has put their livelihood and lives at risk.
In the book, Adapting to a Changing Environment: Confronting the Consequences of Climate Change, by Tim R. McClanahan and Joshua E. Cinner, the authors explore options for confronting the consequences of climate change through building local-scale adaptive capacity and improving the condition of natural resources.
They focused on coral reefs as an example that would provide both warning signs for future changes and a framework for developing larger implications for society.
According to McClanahan and Cinner, “Worldwide, the goods and services that coral reefs provide are estimated to be worth almost $30 billion per year, and a significant amount of this value is derived from reef fisheries.”
Research paper resources
Questia houses millions of books and articles on topics related to science and technology. Take the tour to see what’s available.
Other research paper resources for climate change include:
Another site that addresses the topic of climate change focuses on climate change denial. At SkepticalScience.com, scientists from several disciplines and countries address the arguments and myths surrounding climate change.
Do you think that the need to address climate change is urgent? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.