The west has developed a culture of reckless risk-taking: our leaders entangle us in wars with no exit-strategies, the financial industry overestimates the viability of our market and companies like BP neglect to account for the sensitivity of the global ecosystem. And in this video, recorded at the 2010 TEDWomen conference in Washington, DC, Naomi Klein argues that our highest-stake gamble is the decision to not adequately respond to climate change.
We have entered an era of extremes in the search for energy, Klein says. She points to the Canadian-Alberta tar sands, which are projected to become the primary source of imported oil to the US this year. The process of turning this petroleum-infused sand into crude oil contributes three times more greenhouse gas pollution than it does to produce conventional oil in Canada.
“We are frantically digging to get at the dirtiest, highest-emitting stuff imaginable,” she says. “This is how civilizations commit suicide—by slamming their foot on the accelerator at the exact moment they should be putting on the breaks.”
While our society historically has a narrative of exploiting resources as if there is no limit, Klein says, we need to develop stories of direct action, such as hundreds of young people willing to get arrested for blocking dirty power plants or fighting mountain-top removal coal mining. Klein’s recent report from the Gulf of Mexico,“The Search for BP’s Oil,” examines the evidence that the impact of the 2010 spill will be long-lasting.